Sunday, October 13, 2013
On Oct. 3, local students Aquila Brown of Charleston Charter School for Math & Science and Evan Knox of Charleston Collegiate competed in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. The students traveled to New York City for the competition, which was held Thursday at The Times Center. YEScarolina’s global program partner NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) organized the Challenge. Presented by MasterCard, the nationwide business plan contest draws regional competition winners and pits them against each other.
Brown and Knox are two of 39 students who competed against the brightest young business people from across the country for a chance to win $25,000 in cash and other prizes to advance their business and education. The evening also featured an appearance by all-star entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Per the NFTE/YESCarolina curriculum both students’ high school entrepreneurship classes required the development and presentation of original business plans. The hands-on training the students gained in launching a business reflects an important and often difficult application of artwork, math, reading, writing, and critical thinking. The curriculum reinforces students’ critical thinking skills and provides them with tools to help them take control of their futures and think entrepreneurially.
This past summer, Aquila and Evan competed and placed in the Mark Motley Statewide Business Plan Competition organized by YEScarolina. Since then, these teens have spent the majority of their free time working on their businesses and perfecting their presentations with mentors and YEScarolina coaching staff.
Aquila, who finished third in the 2013 YEScarolina State Business Plan Competition, presented a business plan for her company, TruSol Art. Her business is an expedient, hand-drawn portrait service that is tailored to the customer’s preferences. Her target market is Charleston tourists. When she is not in school she spends her time at The Market, Battery and Waterfront Park marketing her services to potential customers. Aquila prides herself on customer service and providing a service that tells a story and is more than a trinket souvenir. If you ask her what she would tell somebody else interested in starting a business, she would reply, “Set your goals high, and do not let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do.”
After taking first place in the 2013 YEScarolina State Business Plan Competition, Evan has been fine-tuning his business plan for Bullseye Web Designs. His goal is to provide a quick, easy and affordable website design solution for companies and individuals. Evan does things differently at Bullseye Web Designs by approaching prospects with a fully functional demonstration website. Workdays can be busy, but he enjoys the pace and intensity of his work. His advice to future entrepreneurs: “the sooner that you get out there, start your business and build connections, the better.”