Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Business Competition

Do you sell something?  Do you provide a service?  You could win!

Competition Information

Each year, we invite Colorado’s top youth business owners, ages 6 to 21, apply to the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition.  These young entrepreneurs complete an online application, and then a panel of judges selects a winner and two finalists in each age category.  Winners receive up to $5,000, and finalists receive up to $500. Winners are also paired with a leading business owner from the Colorado community.

What’s New

New for 2019, we’re excited to announce that there will be an additional award–the “Rising Business Award – Staff Pick” will be announced at the event!  Read more about this award and about increased prizes for 2019 on our blog.

Why You Should Apply

The applications process is simple, and we’re available to help.  If you can answer yes to these questions, you should apply:

  • Do you know what your business does?
  • Do you have a picture?
  • Have you had at least one customer?

All levels of entrepreneurs from first-timers to established businesses should apply–there’s nothing to lose!

Applications for the 2019 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition are now closed.  Check back in early 2020 to apply for next year’s competition.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and finalists:

6-11 years old


Ryder’s Riches
Ryder Matz (age 10)

12-15 years old


HER Designs
Hannah Reyes (age 12)

16-21 years old


Yard Boyz
Jack Flemming (age 18)


Lightner Designs
Hayden Hopkins (age 11*)

Tuff’s Chickens
Tuff Glassman (age 6)

*Age at time of application


Gabe’s Bazaar
Gabriel Nagel (age 14)

Sewing with Smiles
Maile McManis (age 12)


Ebay Profits By The Teen Entrepreneur
Shouken Lopez (age 16)

Owen Johnson (age 19) and Sam Reilly (age 18)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I apply?

Even if you don’t win, entering the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition is a huge advantage for your business.  Here’s why:

  • The application process helps you outline your business goals and strategy.
  • You’ll receive valuable judging feedback on your business.
  • You’ll be able to network with youth and adult business leaders at the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Gala – for free!

“The whole [YouthBiz Stars] experience has far exceeded our expectations with each new opportunity that comes Jasey’s way. I wish there were more organizations like yours as so many kids would benefit from the type of education and opportunities you provide.”

–Coy Chanders, father of 2014 Winner, Jasey Chanders

How do I apply?

Young Americans uses a startup judging platform called Submit to accept, screen and evaluate applicants for the competition. You will need to create a user name and password. Pay attention to required fields. Also be prepared to download and upload forms.

What are you looking for in an entry?

Young Americans wants to know all about you and your business venture. We receive a wide variety of product-and service- based entries and we encourage you to apply no matter where you are with your business. Age, experience, growth, creativity, development, and idea viability are all taken into consideration. Be sure to tell the judges all about your business and your journey in entrepreneurship succinctly, yet thoroughly.

What information do I need to complete an application?

Here is what you need to complete your application:

  • Description of your business
  • 1-4 images of your product or you performing your services
  • For older age categories, a brief video about you and your business
  • Some of your business goals
  • A description of your target customers
  • Where you sell your product/service now and where you’d like to sell in the future
  • Business expenses from past year
  • Business sales from past year
  • Competition and your competitive advantage
  • Parent contact information

I have a business partner; how do we apply?

You may apply as an individual or business team. If you have a business partner,  you’re more than welcome to share your log-in information with them to help with filling out the application. All applications in your age category will be judged together. Please use the age (as of June 16, 2019) of the oldest team member to determine which age category to enter.

Can someone help me with the application?

Young Americans staff is here to help!  Set up a meeting by contacting Maite Wantwadi: 303-320-3213 or  You may also ask a different adult for help or advice with the application, but try to complete most of it as a business. No one knows more about your business than you do!

If I don’t win this year, can I apply again?

Yes! Some of our winners made it to the top by applying the feedback they received from the judges in previous years’ applications. You may apply as long as you are 6-21 years old and have not won in the past. Finalists can re-apply until they win.

When is the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Event?

This year’s event will be held Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Every applicant is invited to attend the ceremony and will be offered one free ticket. Click here for event details.

Want to explore other opportunities for youth business owners?  Click here.

2019 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor


Pinnacle Benefactors

Empower Retirement

Awards Sponsor

Daniels Fund

Presenting Mentors

PNC Bank
Xcel Energy

Ryan Beiser, Regional President, PNC Bank

Alice Jackson, President, Xcel Energy

Leroy Williams, CEO, CyberTeKIQ

Mezzanine Partners

AAA Colorado
BOK Financial
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP
Cambiar Investors
Linda and Don Childears
GE Johnson Construction Company
Ibex Investors
IMA Foundation
Janus Henderson Investors
Lathrop, Darrel & Pamela
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s
University of Denver
Vectra Bank Colorado
David and Pam Wolf

Foundation Circle Members

Alpine Bank

American Furniture Warehouse

Bank of America

Bank of Colorado

Bank of the West

BKD CPAs & Advisors

Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Carter Family Foundation

Colorado Lending Source

The Colorado Trust


Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP

The DaVita Village


Essential Investment Partners


Friends of HER Designs

Haynes Mechanical Systems

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Koelbel & Company

MidWestOne Bank

Northern Trust Asset Management

The Rifkin/Bennis Family Foundation

David and Shawna Pass

Schomp Automotive

Scott and Christine Simon

U.S. Bank

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