On Friday, April 7, the OJC Student Center Ballroom in La Junta will be filled with young, aspiring entrepreneurs. The first-ever fifth through 12th Grade Youth Entrepreneurship Fair (E-Fair) – like a science fair - will be held.

E-N-T-R-E-P-R-E-N-E-U-R.

A big word that is hard to spell, but full of energy and excitement. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “one who organizes and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise.”

On Friday, April 7, the OJC Student Center Ballroom in La Junta will be filled with young, aspiring entrepreneurs. The first-ever fifth through 12th Grade Youth Entrepreneurship Fair (E-Fair) – like a science fair - will be held, and youth from schools across the six-county southeast Colorado area have been invited to participate.

The day will begin with a display of student projects. Each student participating is required to complete a one-page business plan; develop a table top exhibit; and be prepared to visit with a judging panel about his/her business.

Following the judges’ review of the projects, there will be six to eight projects selected in the middle school division and in the high school division. The students exhibiting those projects will then “pitch” their business idea to an Investor Panel of judges in the hope of winning cash prizes for their business endeavor. It will be a “Shark Tank” experience for these young business-minded students.

Following lunch, the announcement of the winners of the E-Fair will be made, and several young folks will go home with a monetary reward for their business idea.

The E-Fair is an activity of the Youth Engagement Project, funded by the Daniels Fund, and sponsored by Ogallala Commons, in an effort to begin to get the youth in Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero and Prowers counties thinking “entrepreneurially” – thinking of a business they could start; or a business they could buy; or a service they could provide; or a widget they could manufacture. And after high school graduation they could either stay, or return to the Arkansas Valley or anywhere in southeast Colorado to live and work and raise their families.

Youth out-migration is a major problem in every small, rural town across America. This first-ever E-Fair in southeast Colorado is a way to begin to stem that exodus of our youth. Plan to visit the E-Fair on Friday, April 7, 2017, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. to experience the excitement of a bustling business atmosphere – and support our youth and their creative business ideas.

For more information, contact Julie Worley – (719) 468-9297 – julieworley49@gmail.com.