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Foundation Sponsors Program to Honor Young Arkansas Entrepreneurs Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 November 2010 14:43

The Arnold Family Foundation is lending support to the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation's program where elementary and middle school students will showcase inventions and business development skills at the 6th Annual Y.E.S. for Arkansas Competition on January 14, 2011. The 25 finalists will be announced on December 8, 2010. Visit to see which schools are participating in the 2010 – 2011 competition.

The Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation has developed an entrepreneurship education program that involves middle school students (5th – 8th grades) to engage in the start-up and operations of their own small businesses. Youth Entrepreneur Showcase (Y.E.S.) for Arkansas is a statewide business plan competition where students showcase their creativity, intuition and innovation. The competition is designed to encourage Arkansas’s students to act upon their ideas and talents in order to produce tomorrow’s businesses. This approach encourages students to apply what they learn in school to a real world simulation and setting through business plan writing, producing products and selling to the public.

The competition was initiated in 2005 as a collaborative project for middle school students. Since its inception, over 2,900 students have participated in this business plan education program throughout the state of Arkansas. Students in both rural and urban settings are encouraged and engaged in this program, and the students have a chance to win prizes for their business ideas by the end of the competition.

AEAF has found entrepreneurship education a vital means to give students an experiential learning experience in math and financial literacy skills, improved grammar and social skills, leadership and citizenship skills as well as marketing and basic business skills. Meanwhile students are empowered to be creative, innovative and take initiative through this program. These are critical skills as Arkansas looks to diversify its economic development portfolio with innovative entrepreneurs starting technology or knowledge-based companies. Having a strong history in creating manufacturing jobs, those jobs must convert to knowledge-based jobs for the future of the state in employing tomorrow’s new adults. Through the Y.E.S. entrepreneurship education program, students learn they have the ability to create their own jobs and shape their future.

The World Economic Forum, in their 2009 report “Educating the Next Wave of Entrepreneurs,” found entrepreneurship education as a critical global movement in building sustainable communities, creating jobs, generating renewed economic growth and advancing human welfare. As the global community continues to flatten, the future for our students is through innovation and entrepreneurship. Peter Drucker noted; “what we need is an entrepreneurial society in which innovation and entrepreneurship are normal, steady and continual.” AEAF seeks to infuse entrepreneurship education without distracting the schools from their required curriculums in order to reach Arkansas students through the Y.E.S. program.

"Over 70 percent of the students participating in the program come from rural areas throughout Arkansas, so providing training through video conferencing is a goal so we can expand the program to every area of the state,” said Kerri Daniels, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation. "Our hope is that regardless of their geographic location, we will instill an entrepreneurial spirit in these young people and help cultivate Arkansas’ future business leaders."

For more information about the Y.E.S. for Arkansas competition, contact Kerri Daniels, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation at (800) 216-7237 or (501) 374-9247. You can also find additional information at