Area Students to Compete at Small Business Leadership Conference 

JONESBORO – Students from area schools will be at Arkansas State University on Tuesday, Nov. 14, from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. for the annual Small Business Leadership Conference and Competition.

The event will be held in the Auditorium of the Reng Student Union.

“We expect over 260 gifted and talented students who are in the third through sixth grades from 16 northeast Arkansas schools along with 25 teachers to attend this event,” said Philip Tew, director of the Kays Foundation Scarlet to Black Program for Financial Independence.

Students have created over 70 business ideas for which they have submitted written business plans, recorded commercials, planned elevator pitches, and developed advertisements for their businesses.

“During the conference, students will take part in hands-on workshops conducted by college students, the majority of which are first-year students,” said Tew.

Upperclassmen, graduate students and students in the H.O.W.L. Program will also lead workshops.

“The workshops were developed by A-State students with an emphasis on the kids improving the skills needed to be successful entrepreneurs in the very near future,” he added.

Tew said he and Melanie Ricker, assistant director of the Scarlet to Black Program, have traveled to several of the schools and heard some of the business ideas developed by the elementary students.

“They have developed skills that have improved their critical thinking, leadership, problem-solving, and group-building skills,” added Tew.

At 1:15 p.m., winners of the individual competitions will be announced, as well as winners of the overall categories. Those who win the overall competitions will take home a cash prize.

The Scarlet to Black Program, founded in 2018, is designed to help students, particularly those in their first year at A-State, understand financial responsibility, budgeting and planning for their futures so they are prepared for what they may face on the path to graduation. This competition is one of the many projects conducted throughout the year.

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