How to Plan Youth Entrepreneurship Events for Success

youth biz fair

One of the most impactful, and visible, moments in your youth entrepreneurship programming is the culminating event. This final experience often occurs on the last day of your class or club. It could also be a separate event.

What is the value of planning and organizing a culminating event? 

For the student, it’s the apex of their learning experience. Knowing this event is on the horizon creates real-world accountability and pressures within the safe context of a structured learning environment. It gives them a deadline for delivery! This allows students to explicitly work on and improve their skills of time management, task prioritization, and many more practical employability skills.

For the educator, the event is a celebration of student learning. It is a moment to pause the process that students have been working through as they’ve moved from brainstorming to holding their creations in their hands and then sharing it with others.

For the school or OST organization, a youth entrepreneurship culminating event is the ideal moment to engage family and community members. At VentureLab, we’ve seen various in-school and after-school staff organize a culminating event that highlights the outcomes of the student’s work.

Beginning with the end in mind

Decide which type of culminating event you want to have. This allows the educator to communicate the purpose of the work (“Why are we doing this?”) and the outcomes that are expected of the students (“What do we have to do?”). This will increase student engagement and the quality of the student work.

Three types of culminating youth entrepreneurship events:

  1. Youth Pitch Events – student pitches are viewed by an audience

  2. Youth Business Fairs – students exhibit their business ideas in a science fair format

  3. Youth Market Experiences – students sell finished products or services

Youth Pitch Events:

Students presenting in front of an audience and judges at a Youth Entrepreneurship Event.
Students at this elementary school delivered their pitches to an audience of classmates and a panel of judges.

What is a youth pitch event?

A pitch event is an opportunity for your students to present the business they’re developing to an audience of members of their community. It brings out your youth’s courage!

Courage entrepreneurial mindset sticker

Each student delivers their pitch to the audience. Then the student answers questions from members of a preselected pitch panel. After the pitches and panel questions, a ceremony is held for the students. Their growth through the program is recognized and they are awarded VentureLab certificates. Attendees are also given an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the students.

If you choose to run a pitch event to celebrate your students, we will adjust your VentureLab program to prepare your students for a challenging and exciting pitch experience!

Set Students Up for Pitching Success with these 3 tips:

Keep in mind:

      • Keep the event duration around one hour to maintain audience engagement.
      • If a single pitch is 2 minutes, panel interaction is 3-5 minutes, and transition between pitches is 1 minute, allocate 8 minutes for a pitch.

    Ensure that:

        1. The students have spoken in front of the class several times during the program.
        2. The students have completed the pitch script.
        3. The students have practiced delivering their pitch in the event space.

      Youth Business Fairs:

      Fourth and fifth grade students from Newark City Schools in Ohio presented their entrepreneurship ideas.
      Fourth and fifth grade students from Newark City Schools in Ohio presented their entrepreneurship ideas.

      What is a youth business fair?

      Picture the layout of a science fair. Each student has a table to display a prototype of their product. Other materials such as tri-fold boards and marketing materials are set up on their table. This will help your students exercise adaptability.

      adaptability is an important part of youth entrepreneurship

      Audience members move around the showcase area. Students stand at their tables, ready to present their prototypes and interact with the audience. You can distribute VentureBucks to the audience and inform them on how to use VentureBucks to “invest” in student prototypes.

      If you choose to create a business fair for your students, we will adjust your VentureLab program to prepare your students for an exciting showcase experience.

      Prepare Students to Showcase Their Businesses:

      Keep in mind: 

      • Load in/out: Schedule time the day before the event or time BEFORE you allow in audience members for students to set up their displays.

      Ensure that:

      1. The students have developed a prototype.
      2. The students have practiced presenting their prototypes.
      3. The students have made a poster or other display for their table.

      Youth Market Experiences:

      market experience
      At this conference, teens in Missouri sold products that they developed in their afterschool program.

      What is a market experience? 

      Students sell finished products at a marketplace in your school or your community. Bring your opportunity seeking mindset. 

      The ‘marketplace’ could be the cafeteria, a concessions stand, a school fundraiser, a farmer’s market, or a one-time holiday market. Students buying existing bulk products and reselling them is a direct and simple way to have students learn about the financial and operational sides of entrepreneurship. This can be a great way to introduce students to basic business concepts the mindsets and skills of entrepreneurship. You can students can also ideate, develop, test, and create products or services to see at a market.

      entrepreneurs seek opportunities

      In the cafeteria, students might open and run a snack store. At a school fundraiser, students might sell t-shirts that they designed and inventoried. At a holiday market, students might sell a variety of products that they have made.

      If you choose to run a market with your students, we will significantly adjust your VentureLab program. Book a coaching call with our team, and we’ll help you plan!

      Students will run through Idea to Pitch as individuals and develop their own ideas. Then all students will go through Idea to Pitch together and prepare for their shared market experience.

      Guide Your Class into a Successful Market Experience:

      Keep in mind:

      • Materials: Students will need raw materials to create enough product inventory to sell.
      • Products: From the first session, students are aware they should ideate and create physical products they will sell at a culminating event.

      Ensure that:

      1. The class chooses products that can be reasonably bought and sold.
      2. The students have role-played customer service.
      3. The staff and students are ready to practice all entrepreneurial mindsets.


      Begin with the end in mind and select the type of culminating event you want to organize for your youth entrepreneurship program. VentureLab’s Pitch Event Planning Guide (also available in Spanish) contains everything you’ll need to get started.

      You can also schedule time with the VentureLab team to get you set up for success.

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