Student Affair

Teen entrepreneurs compete for cash.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the December 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

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.

What's New

  • Steak-Out Franchising Inc. is taking its sizzling Southern flavor to the Rockies as part of a nationwide expansion. The unique delivery concept brings rib-eye steaks, grilled chicken fillets, a variety of salads and more to customers' homes or offices. "We've long had inquiries from other states," says Don Harkleroad, president of the Atlanta-based company. "We feel we're ready to [expand] now."

Currently, there are 82 Steak-Out Charbroiled Delivery stores in operation and 54 under development. Start-up costs are $207,000 to $280,000.

  • In a move that makes it the second largest company in the retail bagel industry according to number of franchise units, New World Coffee-Manhattan Bagel Inc. recently acquired Chesapeake Bagel Bakery.

The company is also hoping to complete acquisition of New York Bagel Entreprises Inc. in the first quarter of 2000, adding units currently under the New York Bagel and Lots A' Bagels monikers to its chain.

Start-up costs for a New World Coffee or Manhattan Bagel franchise are between $175,000 and $200,000.

  • ProForma Inc., one of the fastest-growing distributors of business and promotional products, has plans for massive expansion in the next two years. They're aiming for 1,000 franchises by the end of 2001, which would more than double the size of the company. Current independent distributors looking to expand to new product lines are ideal candidates for ProForma franchisees, as they'd have the opportunity to be part of a large network and to share overhead and marketing costs, among other things. ProForma is currently looking for such individuals who have been successful in a business-to-business setting.

Contact Sources

Distributive Education Clubs of America Inc., (703) 860-5000,

New World Coffee-Manhattan Bagel Inc.,

ProForma Inc., (800) 825-1525,

Steak-Out Franchising Inc., (770) 493-6110,

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