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Detroit student wins grant at Youth Entrepreneurs national big idea competition

Wichita, Kan. – Dylan McConnell, a sophomore from Cornerstone Health + Technology High School in Detroit, was awarded $500 at the inaugural Youth Entrepreneurs Summit Big Idea National Competition on Thursday and named a national champion. 

A national contest for high school entrepreneurs, the Big Idea competition represents the culmination of months of hard work by student participants to develop their boldest and most innovative business ideas. The Big Idea finals were a national stage for students to pitch their business proposals and put their entrepreneurial skills in action for a panel of expert judges. Youth Entrepreneurs is a year-long, high school elective program that instills the business skills, creative risk-taking and personal values necessary to succeed in today’s market — and in life.

McConnell’s Heir Custom, an apparel business, was selected by the panel of experts for its ingenuity, thorough business strategy and level of value creation. McConnell intends to invest in a silk-screening machine and new stock of merchandise with the grant award. 
“Our YE Summit student participants have been incredibly principled in the pursuit of their ideas,” said YE President Kylie Stupka, “Dylan’s enthusiasm about his ideas has left such a strong impact on his school, peers and community — encouraging others to follow their passions and become leaders.” 

McConnell’s achievements were recognized Thursday at an awards luncheon, where all visiting YE competitors and YE Summit participants were addressed by Dr. Steve Perry, principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, who spoke to the value of having an impact, a natural curiosity, a business purpose and growth experiences like the YE Summit. Over the course of this three-day Summit, 100 YE students from around the country heard from leading business and entrepreneurial figures, networked with YE peers and alumni, and participated in workshops to hone their business management skills.

Judges for the Big Idea competition included: Cameron Cushman, Director of Innovation Ecosystems at the University of North Texas Health Science Center; Tien Huynh, YE alumnus and founder of Huynh Investments; Yolanda Owens, Owner of Iwi Fresh Garden Day Spa; Cheryl Bicknell, Chief Strategy Officer and COO, Mariner Wealth Advisors; and Lee Benson, Founder/CEO, Execute to Win.

“The YE Summit is a great opportunity to gather our many regional chapters and celebrate how our students exemplify the YE principles of dedication and lifelong learning,” Stupka said. “I am constantly impressed with the original thinking and inventive business ideas that our entrepreneurs produce.”  

Interviews, event video b-roll and images are available upon request.  

By cultivating students’ sense of personal responsibility and confidence in their capabilities, the Youth Entrepreneurs curriculum develops expertise essential to starting and running a business. Nationally, nearly 180 classes and 3,400 students participated in Youth Entrepreneurs during the 2017-18 school year. To date, the YE program has produced over 30,000 alumni across the U.S. Please visit the Youth Entrepreneurs website to learn more about the program and the local chapter in your area. 


About Youth Entrepreneurs 
Founded in 1991, Youth Entrepreneurs is a high school program that helps students in need discover fulfillment through the creation of their own business idea. The program provides students a hands-on learning experience inside and outside of the classroom, and teaches the skills necessary to start their own business, improves their marketability in the workforce, and encourages them to continue into higher education. Youth Entrepreneurs serves over 3,000 students annually, operates in nearly 180 classrooms and has over 30,000 alumni across the U.S. Youth Entrepreneurs is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is funded by private donations. For more information, visit http://www.youthentrepreneurs.org.

About YE Summit 2018
YE Summit 2018 was YE’s inaugural annual conference for the top 100 YE high school students across the nation; competing for $20,000 to start their own business or launch the next step in their education. The Summit is made possible presenting sponsor Southwest Airlines and other generous donors.