BizFilings, a Madison, Wisc., firm that helps business owners to set up corporations, limited liability companies and non-profits, and the National Federa-tion of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation are accepting entries from full-time college and high school students through May 1 for this year’s “Plan for The Future Compe-tition.” Now in its second year, the annual competition is designed to enhance the entrepreneurial capability and strategic planning expertise in the next generation of entrepreneurs, the sponsors say.
“The Plan for the Future competition provides promising entrepreneurs with real-life experience and encouragement for their ideas. No matter what the outcome, students will gain valuable insights from simply participating in the competition,” says Troy Janisch, BizFilings’ marketing director. “Draft-ing a business plan is the first, and possibly the most important, step toward starting a successful business. We’re excited about partnering with the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation to give these students a chance to fulfill their dreams,” he says.
Students must submit a detailed plan of no more than 20 pages for the business that they are currently running. Elements of the plan must include an overview or profile of the business; an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) involved; market analysis; sales and marketing strategies; and financial analysis. Entries will be judged by an independent panel based on the quality, creativity and viability of the business plan.
Hank Kopcial, executive director of the Young Entrepreneur Foundation, says co-sponsoring the competition is part of an ongoing effort by NFIB to promote entrepreneurship in high schools and colleges. “Entrepreneurship is a lifelong learning process,” Kopcial says. “We’re pleased that BizFilings has recognized the potential in these young people. Students need opportunities such as Plan for the Future to enable them to develop insights and the expertise to successfully start and manage their own businesses.”
In addition to co-sponsoring the competition, the foundation in 2003 created a scholarship program that grants each awardee $1,000 in tuition assistance at the university, college, community college or vocational/technical institution of his or her choice. More than 400 students won awards in 2006, the foundation says.
Plan for the Future prizes awarded this year will total $15,000. Winners can use their prize money to expand their business. The first-place winner will receive $7,500; the second-place winner $5,000; and the third place winner $2,500. Up to 10 $1,000 scholarship prizes also will be awarded. Winners will be notified in mid June.
Additional contest guidelines and details are available at www.nfib.com/yef  and www.bizfilings.com/about/business_plan_competition.asp .