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High School Students From Three States Participate in Business Plan Competition at Kent State University

Posted Aug. 27, 2012 | Alexandria Rhodes
enter photo description
High school students listen to business plan presentations
by their colleagues participating in the Young Business Scholars
Program at Kent State.

For the second year in a row, Kent State University has hosted the Young Business Scholars Program, a one-week business camp for high school students from Ohio and surrounding states.

The program had 23 participants in 2011, and this year, 38 students from more than 30 high schools in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan participated.

Students are selected for the program based on their GPA and performance in high school, along with a recommendation from a high school teacher and a personal essay on why the program would benefit and interest them.

“The program is designed to give students who are interested in studying business an opportunity to learn more about what it would be like to major in business to help them get a head start on their college career,” says Jennifer Wiggins Johnson, associate professor in Kent State’s Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

Selected students come to the university for a week for a small fee of $50. They stay on campus and receive real-life college experience by living in the dorms, attending classes and conversing with their peers.

During the week, the students work in assigned teams with the goal to develop a business plan to open a new restaurant in Ohio. Each team is required to act as general managers of the restaurant and is challenged to make a set of decisions about the operations, marketing and management of their restaurant. The teams are not required to make decisions about how they would finance the business or to do any sales projections or profitability calculations. However, the teams are expected to demonstrate a basic understanding of what their revenue streams will be and how their restaurants will be profitable.

The students also take classes with Kent State faculty members in business. “The goal of the classes is to give the students a basic introduction to the different areas of specialization within business and to provide them with the tools they need to work on their projects in the competition,” says Johnson.

At the end of the week, the teams present their business plans to a select panel of judges from the Northeast Ohio business community. Judging criteria includes creativity, consistency, clarity, completeness and confidence. Members of the winning team each receive a $1,000 scholarship at Kent State if they choose to major in business.

“I am so amazed at the talent displayed by these high school students and the businesses that they created,” says Veronica Cook-Euell, supplier diversity program manager at Kent State, who was one of the judges of the competition. “It is so important for young people to learn early-on the skill sets for becoming successful entrepreneurs, and I believe Kent State’s College of Business is on to something remarkable with this program.”

For more information about Kent State’s business program, visit