Members of the new Youth Entrepreneurship Summer camp program tested their ideas Tuesday evening before 150 supporters of the camp’s sponsor Youth Organization Umbrella at the John Evans alumni center at Northwestern University.

The YES! camp immersed high school students in entrepreneurship — showing them what it takes to start their own business.

Y.O.U. Executive Director Seth Green says they also gained critical leadership skills that will enable them to succeed in college and in their careers.

Presenting in front of a mock investor panel the youngsters presented plans that included creating a roller skating rink in west Evanston, developing a website for teens describing local activities, starting a scooter rental business in Evanston, launching a trend-setter website involving social media and fashion and operating a health-focused food truck for kids and families.

After questions from a mock investor panel that included Jeffrey Epstein, executive director of the Chicago Portfolio School and director of  Digital Bootcamp; Anthony Fox, chief financial officer, fund control, for Magnetar Capital;  Omar H. Khalil, director of strategy for Baxter Healthcare; Neal H. Levin, partner in Freeborn & Peters LLP; Jonathan Seed, managing director of Royal Bank of Scotland, and Alice Tybout, the Harold T. Martin professor of marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, audience members got to vote with Monopoly money for the business plans that most excited them.

Green says all the youngstersin the program were commended for their business ideas and leadership abilities and the competition was extremely close, but ultimately the audience put the most play money behind the website.·       

Top: Members of the winning team pose with Y.O.U. leaders. Back row from left: Scott Phillips, Y.O.U. Director Seth Green, Graig Tertulien. Front row: Kelsea Frazier, Alanna Williams, Shantel Neal and YES! Camp Program Director Victoria Krone. Below: The entire youth entrepreneurs class.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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