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McClatchy-Tribune  02/16/2014 4:06 PM ET
Update: Business Plan Challenge High School Track open to eighth-graders, too [The Miami Herald :: ]

Feb. 16--Calling all creative, entrepreneurial eighth-graders: You are welcome to compete in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge.

The "High School Track" began as a contest for grades nine to 12, but this year, I've received a dozen or so calls and emails from eighth-grade teachers and their students who would like to compete. We say bring it on: The high school contestants better watch their backs!

Entries in the High School Track are short business plans of no more than three pages; one or two pages is fine, too. Tell us about yourself, your business idea, who your customers will be, what it will cost to make your product, and how you plan to market it. Most important: "Let your passion shine through. Believe in yourself and your idea. Listen to advice from experienced entrepreneurs. Never give up," says Joanie Stringer, a Northern Trust executive and one of the judges for the high school track, which is co-sponsored by the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit that teaches entrepreneurship skills in low-income South Florida schools.

A little school rivalry is never a bad thing. Ransom Everglades has had a string of winners in our contest, but we have also had recent winners from Miami Edison, Krop, Miami Beach, South Dade, Gulliver and other schools. Last year's first-place winner -- Sam Steiner, with a growing business called SeniorLink -- hails from Saint Andrew's School in Boca Raton, and you can read his story and an update of the other 2013 high school winners on Some teachers make the Challenge a class project, and we love that. I will be happy to answer any questions or speak to classes.

The deadline for entries is April 5; for the High School Track, email your contest entry to highschoolchallenge@

Central headquarters for all three tracks of the Challenge is, where you will find the contest rules, judges' bios and updates on last year's winners.

Questions? Email me at Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg for updates. And good luck!


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