Young Americans Center's Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars

Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Business Competition

Three Colorado businesses. Owners aged 6 to 21. Cash prizes of up to $1,000.

Each year we scour the state of Colorado for the best youth-owned businesses. These young entrepreneurs, ages 6 to 21, complete a competition application, and then our panel of judges selects a winner and two finalists for each age category. Winners receive a cash prize of $1,000, and finalists receive $250. Winners are also paired with a leading business owner from the Colorado community.

The applications process is simple, and we’re available to help.

Applications for the 2018 business competition are now closed.  They will open for the 2019 competition in Winter, 2019.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:

6-11 years old


The Lucky Penny
Liam Lennon (age 11*)
Watch Liam’s video


HER Design Store
Hannah Reyes (age 11*)

The Scented Penguin
Owen Lennon (age 11*)

*Age at time of application

12-15 years old


Emily Rudnick (age 15)
Watch Emily’s video


Gabe’s Bazaar
Gabriel Nagel (age 13)

Laney’s Lipcare
Delaney Ryan (age 14)

16-21 years old


Elevation Creations
Brenden Coney (age 18)
Watch Brenden’s video


Luke Aden Photography
Luke Aden (age 17)

Yard Boyz
Jack Flemming (age 17)

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 Startup Compete 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.  Application is available here.

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.

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 can invite a them to the application. They’ll need to create a username and password as well, however, they won’t need to fill out another application. All applications in your age category will be judged together. Please use the age (as of June 16, 2018) 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 4, 2018 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.

2018 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor


Pinnacle Benefactors

First Western Trust
Focus Property Group
Great West Financial and Empower Retirement
Xcel Energy

Awards Sponsor

Daniels Fund

Presenting Mentors

First Western Trust
Focus Property Group

Margaret Kelly, former CEO Re/Max

Bahman Shafa, President, Focus Property Group

Scott Wylie, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, First Western

Mezzanine Partners

AAA Colorado
Cambiar Investors
Linda and Don Childears
CoBiz Financial
Ibex Investors
IMA Foundation
Janus Henderson Investors
Morgan Stanley
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s
University of Denver
Vectra Bank Colorado

Foundation Circle Members

Alpine Bank

Bank of America

Bank of Colorado

Bank of the West

BKD CPAs & Advisors

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Carter Family Foundation

Colorado Community College System Foundation

Colorado Lending Source


Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP

Essential Investment Partners


GE Johnson Construction Company

Haynes Mechanical Systems

Koelbel & Company

MidWestOne Bank

Northern Trust

The Rifkin Foundation

Schomp Automotive

Scott and Christine Simon

David and Pam Wolf