Young entrepreneurs who are hoping to get started on their YouthBiz idea sooner than later are more than welcome to do so now, rather than waiting until the competition opens this fall.

General Manager of Community Futures Sunrise, Verna O'Neill, says it's all about working through the questions.

"We do have the most current YouthBiz guide up on the website and so we might make a couple of tweaks each year just to refine it to make sure that we're meeting the needs of the students and teachers in our region, but for the most part, the questions or requirements are pretty consistent year over year, so students wanted to get us started on their entry already, they can go download the last year's entry guide and just be ready for fall of 2022. We kick off usually in September for YouthBiz, make the announcement that registrations are open and we start working with students right away in September, wraps up in November each year."

She shared what some of the benefits are to the young person who has the idea for a business, whether or not it's one they actually do, or just put the thought work towards for the purpose of the competition.

"A lot of the YouthBiz connects them to financial literacy," she noted. "The contest itself is really structured to give the opportunity to the students to develop new skills, researching skills, talking and presenting in the business community, speaking with others that are business owners about certain concepts, and then also thinking through the product itself, and would it be something that I could actually sell whether they implement it or not? The YouthBiz contest and the process is really about skill development and learning about financial literacy and other skills that are important to install business." 

CF Sunrise just released photos from the last two winners who had not yet been presented with their prizes, Ella Leko of Weyburn and Kamryn Doud of Radville. 

"That was a really unique and interesting evolution for Ella, because when she first entered that business idea of a bakery, she was in Grade 6, and so she took the learnings that she had, she reformatted things, and really thought about what would it be now, as she's grown for three years, now taking an entrepreneurship class at the Weyburn Comprehensive School with Mrs. Margot Arnold, and so applied some new of learning and some new skills to that idea and kind of came up with a whole different ball game for cookie code that landed her in second place."

O'Neill noted, this is not typical, and in most cases, revamping an old idea is not encouraged. 

"We typically would say it should be an idea that is significantly different from something that they've ever submitted to YouthBiz before, because it is a great idea to have a new experience, try out something new," she explained. "So resubmitting the same idea over and over, oftentimes you kind of lose that creativity and innovation. In Ella's case, she didn't, but we usually suggest that people pick a different idea, if they've already gone through the use of this process with an idea and they'd like to submit more than one year and and that's really been a great strategy for students to help them to develop new skills and new ideas and creativity."

She said some have won for consecutive years with different ideas. 

"We've had kids that have won for second or third multiple years with different ideas, so it's been really interesting to see the evolution of students and help them to discover if they could be an entrepreneur," she shared. "It's as easy as picking an idea that you're interested in, trying it out, making prototypes, or implementing the idea and writing about it. So we haven't had a multi year winner in a few years, but we did have some specifically from Saint Michael School here in Weyburn, there was a couple of students that, year over year, with different business ideas, won multiple years. And boy they did a great job. They just want to do it. They're meant to be entrepreneurs, and we're here to support them in that journey." 

Read more: Weyburn's YouthBiz winners share on experiences


Above (L-R): Verna O’Neill (CF Sunrise), Kamryn Doud (1st Place, Gr 6 – 8 category, D'Zines), Larry Heggs (Weyburn Chamber). Kamryn is a student at St. Olivier School in Radville.