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High School Students Compete in National Entrepreneurship Tournament

High School Students Compete in National Entrepreneurship Tournament

High School Students Compete in National Entrepreneurship Tournament
May 18, 2006

More than 100 high school students from six states will be traveling to New York next week to try to become the USA SAGE champion and earn an invitation to represent their country at the SAGE World Cup in Shanghai.

SAGE—Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship—was founded by California State University, Chico business professor Curt DeBerg and hosts events organized in part by CSU, Chico business students and alumni. “I have an incredible staff of business students, who volunteer for SAGE as part of their commitment and dedication to youth entrepreneurship and social responsibility,” DeBerg said. “By serving while they’re learning, this is service-learning at its best.”

High-school teams are judged on entrepreneurship, community outreach, civic engagement, environmental responsibility, use of college mentors and use of a business advisory board. Following a presentation, judges ask questions of the student presenters.

In partnership with City University of New York Institute for Virtual Enterprise, SAGE will conduct its fourth annual national competition on Friday, May 26, at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn.

Last year’s national competition was held in San Mateo, Calif. The defending national champion is a team from Northwestern Lehigh High School in New Tripoli, Penn., which came in fourth in the World Cup event behind the winning team from Odessa, Ukraine.

The student entrepreneurship projects can range from running an in-school food cart service in order to reduce lunchtime truancy to finding new markets for handicrafts for an economically impoverished ethnic group. Those projects—by students at the Fremont Business Academy in Oakland and the Central Philippines University Development High School, respectively—are past winners.

For the 2006 national championship, teams from six states, including New York and California, will be making oral and written presentations to a panel of judges. The students will describe their entrepreneurial and social ventures that they started and operated during the past year. One of the entries will be from Chico’s Pleasant Valley High School, where students ran a catering business.

National competitions similar to the Brooklyn event are taking place this spring in other countries including China, Russia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ukraine, Philippines, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Each country’s winner advances to the SAGE World Cup in Shanghai on August 3-6. DeBerg said he and three CSU, Chico students—Allison Smith, Carol Bayes and Anthony Mellow—will be traveling to Shanghai to help put on the event.

Among the keynote speakers at the May 26 awards banquet will be Gretchen Zucker, executive director of Youth Venture of Arlington, Va. “I see SAGE’s mission as a wonderful complement to Youth Venture in that SAGE helps to empower young people by providing them the tools necessary to create civic-minded organizations, clubs or businesses,” Zucker said. “The SAGE competition is one way to evaluate the success of the youth-created, youth-led organizations. I hope all of these young, socially minded entrepreneurs become part of the global Youth Venture network.”

One of the judges for the national competition is Steve Mariotti, founder and president of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. “I am excited to be taking part in this program,” Mariotti said. “At NFTE, we believe developing a business plan is key to improving business, academic and life skills.”

One of last year’s judges was Charles Toney, human resources specialist for NUMMI. “SAGE can become an essential part of a young person’s education, because the program is about applying knowledge to benefit one’s community and oneself,” Toney said. “Those of us who have mentored or judged SAGE teams look optimistically to the future because we have seen and been heartened by the potential of these youth, as when the 2005 Ohio state champion team talked about importing material from an African country and the Pennsylvania state champion talked about its work for Peruvians.”

Among the other judges next week will be Stacie Fieth, director of after school and capstone programs development for Junior Achievement; Amil Husain, global youth coordinator for the United Nations Millennium Campaign; and Jerr Boschee, executive director of The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs.

The main sponsors of USA SAGE are Walgreens, Bank of the West, GotVMail, the Harold and Louis Price Foundation, Wells Fargo and the Allstate Foundation. Shelly Taliani, who represents The Allstate Foundation in California, was one of the judges for the California competition. Taliani said, “This program aligns with Allstate’s goal to make economic resources and knowledge accessible to the community. By teaching financial literacy and economics to youth, they will be empowered to make informed decisions regarding their financial security throughout their lives.”

Related article

Program encourages entrepreneurship among Nigerian high school students
Secondary school students from Nigeria competing against Poland? Russia versus Ghana? US versus Tajikistan? South Africa versus China? Ukraine versus the Philippines? Yes, but this is not a soccer match-it’s the “SAGE World Cup.” Rather than kicking a ball through a goal, these Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) will explain how they have completed entrepreneurship projects and social ventures for the betterment of their communities. The best team will be crowned “SAGE World Cup” champion on 11-14 August in San Francisco. Gray’s International College from Kaduna State will represent Nigeria in this unique program that combines local collaboration with global competition.

This is a modified news release from SAGE.

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