Young Entrepreneurs Challenge

Earns

+400 Points

Winner

$10,000

Coming Soon: April 15 - May 17, 2024!

Do you have a head full of brilliant business ideas but don't know how to unleash your inner entrepreneur? This Challenge is your answer! Discover the entrepreneurial secrets you need to transform your ideas into reality! From creating a brand-new product to learning how to market it, we'll show you how to make your dreams a reality. This is your chance to win a cash prize from the Fleischer Scholars Foundation by creating a 3-5 minute video pitch!

You'll address the question: How can you unleash your creativity and entrepreneurship skills to address a problem in your community?

📅 Add to Calendar

Young Entrepreneurs
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Skills you'll develop

  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Social Awareness

Your Entrepreneurship Journey Starts Here

Entrepreneur Lightbulb

Let's Go!

Chances are, you get fed up with everyday annoyances and would love to find ways to fix them…from small nuisances like misplacing your earbuds or keeping your water cold to bigger issues like a lack of healthy food options in your neighborhood or having to travel long distances to reach a doctor. Being an entrepreneur is about spotting problems all around you and coming up with creative solutions. When you start to wonder how things could be better than they are now, you’re thinking like an entrepreneur! It's about transforming everyday frustrations into real-life products and services that make life easier or more enjoyable for people. Remember, every big achievement starts with the decision to try. To prepare you on your journey, explore stories of young innovators; gather insights from experts; learn how to spot your community's cry for help - all in preparation for making a real impact. Let's make this happen, KnoProers. Your community is waiting for your next great business/service or product idea!

Get Inspired

Meet some young minds helping to shape the future. In these videos, dive into the journeys of extraordinary young innovators who transformed challenges into opportunities with their groundbreaking ideas and unstoppable drive.

Zumba (1:20)

Mo's Bows (4:43)

Brown Girls Stationary (3:44)

La La Land Kind Cafe (3:14)

Maya's Ideas (2:33)

Me & the Bees Lemonade (2:36)

Are You Kidding (1:30)

Gladiator Lacrosse (2:12)

What's the Appeal of Entrepreneurship?

So, why would you want to be an entrepreneur? Lots of reasons! Explore some.

Creativity, Autonomy, Meaning

 “Gen Z and Gen Alpha are not waiting for the world to change; they’re making it happen.” Gen Zers are not only toying with entrepreneurship but are diving in head first. Recent research from ZenBusiness shows 93% of Gen Zers have already ‘explored’ business ownership. As the allure of traditional 9-5 careers continues to fade, tech-savvy, socially-conscious, creative, and globally-minded youth want to be their own boss, while earning money for their ideas and creations. All great reasons to pursue entrepreneurship! Who knows, you may be the next Mark Zuckerberg who started Facebook at age 19.

Make an Impact!

Many entrepreneurs are on an important mission, for example: addressing the climate crisis with sustainable solutions, designing affordable temporary housing solutions to combat houselessness, starting a fund to empower women, and providing better access to books for all young children, for example. Social Entrepreneurs are one type of entrepreneurs who want to solve social problems with their products and services to make the world a better place. These folks don't usually work to make big profits or wealth. Instead, they tend to start nonprofits or companies that dedicate themselves to working toward social good.

Day-in-Life

Be Your Own Boss

As an entrepreneur, you're your own boss. That means you get to make all of the decisions, set your schedule, and follow your passions. It also means that you need to learn how to use your time wisely and stay focused on your goals without someone telling you what and when to do the work. Sound appealing? Check out the day in the life of one entrepreneur to see how he structures his time.

Some Tips

Seems like entrepreneurship is a pretty good gig, right? Hear from a kidpreneur about what entrepreneurship is and why you might want to join so many other youth taking this journey. Lena Ford designs and sells accessories that sell positivity. Lena provides some useful tips for getting started.

Stretch Yourself

Hear about some of the challenges facing successful young entrepreneurs, from taking care of oneself, hiring the right people, addressing the pressures of growth, overcoming self-doubt, getting others to understand your ideas, and stretching yourself in ways you might never have imagined.

Developing Your Entrepreneurial Self

Learn how to think and act like an entrepreneur for your best outcomes! Use proven tips from businessman, Mort Fleischer, to build up yourself and become the best YOU.

Mort

Meet a KnoPro Shark!

Once you've developed your business or product idea, you'll pitch it to the judges. The top shark is Mr. Mort Fleischer, a successful entrepreneur, financier, real estate investor, and founder of the Fleischer Scholars Program. Mr. Fleischer's humble beginnings and personal struggles proved to him that with education, hard work, and goal setting, anything is possible. His enterprising roots began with a lawn-mowing business as a teenager and took him on other adventures that included selling insurance, co-owning a coal mine, and ultimately managing more than twenty real estate companies. “Everyone can be an entrepreneur,” according to Mort Fleischer, “In America, your future is not determined by your past or your current circumstances. Your future is determined by YOU and starts now!” Consider some more expert advice from Mr. Fleischer to help you on your life's journey.

Words of Wisdom

Identifying Problems Worth Solving

Now that you are more aware of your personal assets, it's time to flex those muscles and apply them to your entrepreneurship endeavors. As for your liabilities, you'll find that you will likely grow in ways you didn't expect on this journey.

Problem Identification

How do great entrepreneurs come up with ideas? You might imagine that entrepreneurs have “light-bulb moments” where they are inspired to create a genius product. BUT, that’s usually not the case, and if it is, a great product or business ideas doesn’t necessarily mean success. Customers don’t buy products, they buy solutions to problems. This means that people are looking for something to fulfill a specific need or want in their life. The best place to start the problem-identification process is with yourself, then expand out to others. The only wrong approach is to think that the perfect idea will just come to you. Great ideas come from having lots of ideas. Observe and MAKE A LONG LIST! Consider the following suggestions to help you identify problems. All problems, big and small matter as long as we can demonstrate that someone is experiencing the problem and that a solution is needed.

Notice Your Pain Points

Look around your life and notice your daily frustrations. What annoyances have you had today? What task can you make easier? Is there a better way to do this? Not staying hydrated? Feeling lazy about walking the dog? Avoiding your homework? Noisy neighbors keeping you up? Tired of washing the dishes? Having trouble sleeping? Can’t find a summer internship? Having a hard time making friends? Wishing there were healthier food options in your school cafeteria? Annoyed by frizzy hair in humid or rainy weather? Notice what bothers you and write it down.

pain points

Build on Your Hobbies and Passions

Start with what you love, care about, and truly interests you. When you have space to acknowledge your passions, incredible ideas emerge to use our passions to make the world a better place and add value through solving problems that you care about. Consider what inspires you. What makes you feel excited and energized? What do you spend hours doing? What’s one thing you care about more than anything? What are some problems that you encounter while pursuing your passions?

hobbies
interview

Talk to People in Your Community

Observe and talk to people in your community. At the mall, ask about people’s purchases and what needs they filled. At home or school, ask about other’s frustrations and the extra services they desire. Ask people what problems concern them - from the big to the everyday - houselessness in your community to hard-to-carry grocery bags. You could start to consider a target market that you might be interested in identifying a problem for and ultimately coming up with a service or product solution. Teens? Elderly? Moms? Wheelchair-bound? Vision-impaired? Restaurant workers? Gamers? Budget-conscious clothes shoppers? This is one approach where you can identify a "niche market," and consider the problems they face.

Modify an Existing Product

You don't need to reinvent the wheel in order to build a successful business. Instead, think of ways to improve an existing product and build on it. Think about the products you buy. Ask: what bugs you about the product? What if this product could do this? How can you make the product better? How could it be cheaper? Can you make it easier to get? Can you target a different market with it? Try the SCAMPER technique. Warch the video to learn how.

Get on the Bandwagon

Sometimes markets surge because of current events; masses of people suddenly want or need something, and the resulting demand can't be immediately met. Look at current issues - what are big issues that the media is focusing on? How can you be part of the solution? For example, during the second quarter of 2020, Etsy sellers sold $376 million worth of handmade masks. Look at existing businesses and the products and services they offer and determine if there's a need for more of those products or services. You may want to develop business ideas to fit the market gap.

Supply and Demand

Entrepreneurial Problems

As you identify problems, it helps to organize them into the four main types, especially as you begin to consider exactly what aspect of the problem is the real issue that you hope to address with an innovative solution.

bottle

Annoyance

Annoyance

An annoyance is something that bothers or irritates us but is not necessarily life-changing if we solve it. For example: plastic water bottles often leak and can't keep water cold for long periods of time.
burger

Inefficiency

Inefficiency

Inefficiencies are processes or things we do that take longer than they should or longer than we'd like them to take. For example, it takes a long time to sit down at a restaurant and order a burger if you only have a short lunch break.
bandaid

Quality & Function

Quality & Function

Improving quality and function of a product or service is crucial when it does not perform well, like when a band-aid fails to adequately cover a small cut.
cart

Breaking the Mold

Breaking the Mold

Breaking the mold means the problem you want to solve requires changing an industry drastically to provide a solution. For example: buying things in person is really slow and inconvenient.
entrepreneur teens

You’re Not Like Most People!

Most people experience problems like you're identifying every single day and do nothing about them, but feel annoyed or perhaps complain. That’s what separates an entrepreneur from everyone else! They know they can DO something about these problems, and they come up with an idea for a solution for them in the form of a business or product. We bet you could come up with a list of ONE HUNDRED possible solutions to the problems you listed, but… let’s not get ahead of ourselves. That will come soon. If you want more inspiration, check out some examples of young entrepreneurs who tackled a problem in their own unique way.


Filtering Your Ideas

Over the next few days, before you move to the Focus section of the Challenge - in your teams, or solo, try to narrow down your problem list to three to five problems. You can talk to people, distribute surveys, continue to observe, and listen. Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a problem that you’d be excited to solve, is a real need and a concern to actual people (great to think about your target market too), and has the opportunity to be different from other offerings on the market. You can use a method of your choice to do this: sticky dots to rank them, putting them on post-its to group and organize the problems, scratching off your list, or creating a grid for “potential" - identifying if it is a real need with people looking for a solution - and “fit” - how excited you'd be to work on the problem.

Filter Ideas

A Few Factors to Consider

Before you move on to the next step and identify the problem you want to tackle, and whether you want to create a business/service or product to solve it, let’s review a few key factors you’ll want to explore as part of your idea and solution. Make sure some of these things wind up in your video pitch to the judges so they know you did your homework!

Tips for Teen Entrepreneurs

Tips for Teen Entrepreneurs (4:59)

  1. Model success

  2. Get experience

  3. Take consistent action

Next Steps

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Mentor Moment: Ask Questions!

Did you know that there are professionals, who created the Challenge, standing by to help you? They will also be judging your final pitches, so be sure to take advantage throughout the Challenge and post your questions on your dashboard. They want you to win!

What are you curious about? Ask them any questions that came up for you during the Explore phase.

focus graphic

Onward!

In the next section, you’re going to learn how to FOCUS your ideas into the start of a business or product plan. You’ll create a question you want to solve, like: How can I solve X problem in my community? Then you’ll identify a “customer persona” or audience you want to solve for–like: How can I solve X problem in my community for Y group? Example: How can I solve for the lack of street lights in my neighborhood for people (especially women and teens) who work late and have to walk home in the dark?

Just remember to think like an entrepreneur as you go, and the sky is the limit. Let’s do this!