Students from five South Side high schools participated in a thrilling business plan competition on May 5 as a capstone to their experiential study of entrepreneurship, and showcased their inventive plans to launch new products and services as promising, young entrepreneurs. The ‘Shark Tank’ style competition, hosted by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) at ESPN Zone, culminated with students being recognized for their recently opened or soon-to-open businesses by a panel of local entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy senior Morgan Brock received first place in the business plan competition for founding FBC Manufacturing, Inc., which created a patented design that secures bar soap to a washcloth to prevent waste and save money.
The Honorable Richard M. Daley kicks off the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center’s Future Founders program student business plan competition at ESPN Zone
During the past nine months, 160 students from ACE Technical Charter High School, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, Chicago Vocational Career Academy, Global Visions Academy, and the School of Entrepreneurship at the South Shore Campus received insight on creating and running businesses of their own. Over 100 Chicagoland entrepreneurs mentored these students individually as they developed their business plans and opened their businesses.
For the second year in a row, Mayor Richard M. Daley attended the competition and said this of the Future Founders program, “I believe in the young talent in this city. I encourage the students today to take advantage of this great experience that has been provided to you through Future Founders. Programs like this are important because they inspire and encourage entrepreneurship in the City of Chicago.”
“Future Founders provides students with an opportunity to ensure their successful futures. We are enabling our students to develop an entrepreneurial toolkit that they can use throughout their careers,” said Scott Issen, CEC Managing Director. “After all, entrepreneurship is the economic engine of our economy. It is through entrepreneurs, like our students, that we will recover from the recession.”
This year’s competition showcased plans for recently opened or soon-to-open businesses. After presenting to their peers, teachers, mentors, and an esteemed panel of judges, the 2010 Future Founders honorees are:
“Future Founders taught me how to succeed in the business world,” said Morgan Brock, founder of FBC Manufacturing, Inc., and the 2010 first place winner. “The program changed my mind on what career field I want to pursue. At first, I wanted to become a pharmacist, but now I want to become an entrepreneur.”
This year, the CEC recognized its top volunteers during the business plan competition’s awards ceremony. Additionally, Meagan Sims of Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy was recognized with the Josie J. Dunnett “Live Your Dreams” Scholarship Award in memory of the late Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce employee, Josie Dunnett.
Future Founders Champion Award Winners
Future Founders Rookie of the Year Award Winners
Sponsored by the Motorola Foundation, AT&T, Ford Motor Company Fund, Harris Bank, Smart Bet Charity and Microsoft, the CEC’s Future Founders program consists of mentoring and specialized activities, which complement curriculum developed by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Future Founders provides students with the opportunity to learn the public speaking, presentation, technology, and financial literacy skills needed to create and grow a business.
In total, $30,000 in prizes was awarded to students, including over $10,000 in scholarships to the Future Founders Academy, an experiential entrepreneurship camp that will take place in June.
The CEC, Motorola Foundation and NFTE launched the Future Founders program in 2005 to expose students to careers in entrepreneurship and foster entrepreneurial skills. In its first five years, 500 motivated high school students from 10 underserved neighborhoods have had the opportunity to learn about and experience entrepreneurship from some of the city’s most successful entrepreneurs. For more information about the Future Founders program or to become a mentor, visit www.chicagolandec.org/futurefounders.
Ready to get involved?
Join our newsletter for updates