Although CES is open only to attendees 18 years of age and older, each year CTA invites local Las Vegas-area high school students to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges and develop critical skills as future entrepreneurs.
Three teams with varying ideas that help solve key problems, especially among millenials, will present the following pitches: Moneybyte is a financial management app for teenagers and connects to a wearable bracelet; Aver is a device that prevents cybersecurity attacks; and GamerCool is a chair that keeps gamers cool during epic online battles.
To get to the contest’s final round, the Las Vegas students completed the Future Innovators entrepreneurship program, powered by education technology provider EVERFI and sponsored by CTA.
Exposure to entrepreneurship and simulated business learning is traditionally introduced at the college level. But by teaching entrepreneurship earlier, CTA’s Future Innovators program is helping a younger generation – who may choose to forgo the traditional, four-year college route for the chance to become entrepreneurs at an earlier age. Since its 2015 launch, CTA’s Future Innovators program has reached more than 5,100 Clark County students in nearly 100 classrooms – two-thirds of which are in low-tomoderate income schools.
With the future of U.S. jobs in mind and the best ways to train America workers for new roles in many of today’s conversations, it’s important to note not just what the Future Innovators program does, but how it does it. Using EVERFI’s customized gaming technology, the digital entrepreneurship courses teach high school students how to start and run their own business. Students simulate starting a food truck business, which then teaches them how to conduct market research; create business and marketing plans; draft a budget; make informed decisions about hiring; and pitch to potential investors. By the end, each student has completed an e-Portfolio – a dynamic, visual representation of their business plan and personal career goals.
The program thrives at creating a hands-on experience blended with compelling digital content that resonates especially well with how younger audiences take in new information. At the same time, it mimics real-world scenarios all too familiar for many of the startups you see in Eureka Park at CES – CES’ dedicated area for small businesses. It’s no easy task to pitch a business plan to a panel of judges comprised of established CTA member companies and prominent technology leaders.
The goal of the program is to spark entrepreneurial curiosity. Whether these students go on to become CEOs, graphic designers or sales representatives, they’re identifying opportunities, asking critical questions and working towards set objectives or life skills which extend beyond technology.