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Student Affair Teen entrepreneurs compete for cash.

By Zaheera Wahid

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Long gone are the days when teens couldn't wait to donMcDonald's uniforms and start their first jobs. Today'steens have higher aspirations--they dream of becoming notemployees, but entrepreneurs.

"Almost every student, in the back of his or her mind,wants to own a business," says Tim Coffey, corporatedevelopment director for Reston, Virginia-based DistributiveEducation Clubs of America (DECA) Inc. That much is obvious atDECA's annual conference, the Entrepreneurship ParticipatingEvent, which has been attracting young entrepreneurs for more than30 years.

The event, next held April 29 through May 2 in Louisville,Kentucky, gives students the opportunity to develop and presentbusiness proposals covering all aspects of development, marketingand finance. A panel of local business-people will judge theproposals based on how practical the students' ideas are,whether the plans are realistic, and the amount of research eachstudent does.

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