310.251.8636 dquast@projectecho.org

Judge the Business Plan Competition!

Thank you for your interest in volunteering as a Judge at the May 3, 2020 Project ECHO High School Entrepreneurs’ Business Plan Competition.

Overview of the Competition:
This event is the culmination of a year-long program in business and entrepreneurship offered by Project ECHO and it’s anticipated that about 500 teens will compete this year.

The Project ECHO High School Entrepreneurs’ Business Plan Competition simulates the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from investors. Judges participate on panels that will evaluate about 10 presentations and act as venture capital investors deciding on which business they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the oral presentation are the criteria that determine each judge’s decision. The winning team in each of three categories (technology, consumer products, entertainment/hospitality) of competition is decided based on where the judges would most likely invest their money.

What to Expect:  Your commitment would be from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm. This schedule includes a one-hour orientation on the morning of the competition where judges will learn more about our competition, our teens, and best practices to evaluate so many teams. Prior to the competition, Judges will be required to hop on a Zoom video conference to learn how to use YouNoodle, our online evaluation system. Judging ends at about 12:30, followed by lunch and activities.

Every Judge will receive lots of hot coffee in the morning along with a continental breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. Your short bio and photo will be published in the event program.

As a non-profit organization, ECHO raises funds to help offset the cost of its program and events. During the registration process, consider super-sizing your support of Project ECHO with a minimum donation of $250 and become a VIP Judge. In return you’ll receive a few extra perks, to include:

1) Preferred selection of the competition category you’d like to evaluate
2) Business card ad published in the event program
3) Extended personal bio or add a company bio in the event program
4) Engraved magnetic name badge that will include your name, company name and previous judging years (if any).

VIP Judges will receive a PayPal invoice to complete their donation.

Donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated. They’re how we get to offer our great programs to great teens!

Please note that submission of an application does not guarantee placement as a judge.

About Project ECHO
Project ECHO (Entrepreneurial Concepts Hand On), is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 1996 with a mission to empower high school students with entrepreneurial and leadership skills so that they can thrive in college, their careers and in their community as change-makers. Through a full curriculum in entrepreneurship, teens receive an excellent foundation for the types of creative and innovative skills they will need to succeed in future careers, giving a head start to those who plan to go to college and more importantly to those who plan to enroll in vocational programs or start their own businesses. ECHO teens learn to be creative problem solvers and gain the ability to assess and initiate solutions, providing a future workforce ready and willing to tackle problems. Through its exclusive programs, teens develop their self-confidence while developing new skills not traditionally learned in a classroom, such as ideation, the ability to keep going in the face of hardship and the social skills needed to build great teams. This is in addition to learning about core business areas, such as finance, sales, marketing, management and accounting, along with broader ranging skills, such as adaptability and effective communication.

Every year, almost 100% of teens who participate in ECHO report that this experience was their most memorable and relevant in preparing for college and/or career. These teens reported that ECHO has helped them identify specific college majors and/or career or self-employment options.

This year, ECHO is poised to enroll more than 500 teens from 20 different high schools from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Orange Counties, including a high school for incarcerated teens. As a non-profit organization, Project ECHO raises 100% of its annual operating budget every year with the mission of keeping teens engaged in high school and helping them identify future college and career paths.