Long gone are the days when teens couldn't wait to don McDonald's uniforms and start their first jobs. Today's teens have higher aspirations--they dream of becoming not employees, but entrepreneurs.
"Almost every student, in the back of his or her mind, wants to own a business," says Tim Coffey, corporate development director for Reston, Virginia-based Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) Inc. That much is obvious at DECA's annual conference, the Entrepreneurship Participating Event, which has been attracting young entrepreneurs for more than 30 years.
The event, next held April 29 through May 2 in Louisville, Kentucky, gives students the opportunity to develop and present business proposals covering all aspects of development, marketing and finance. A panel of local business-people will judge the proposals based on how practical the students' ideas are, whether the plans are realistic, and the amount of research each student does.
Cash prizes are awarded to the top 10 plans. If students are extremely lucky, they may see their ideas become reality, as judges with an eye for innovation have been known to buy student projects.