Thursday, March 27, 2014

Winners Announced in Student Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition

The Carson J Spencer Foundation Funds Youth Social Enterprises to Prevent Suicide

Judges for Returning Businesses
Photo: Carly Goldsmith
Denver, Colorado. March 27, 2014. Robert Redford once defined social entrepreneurship as “using business skills to solve social ills.” This year 48 classrooms across the state of Colorado competed in the 6th annual “FIRE Within Business Plan Competition” to do just that. Since the beginning of the school year, entrepreneurship and business leadership classes from Denver, Boulder, Brighton, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Aspen and other areas in the state worked diligently to develop viable businesses that would both make a profit and make a significant community impact. The students are part of an innovative program of the Carson J Spencer Foundation called the FIRE Within that encourages student leaders to develop a product or service that generates revenue while addressing a root cause of student distress.  Because the program has grown so large, this year the competition was divided into two parts: new businesses competition and returning businesses competition. Over 50 business and community leaders volunteered as judges for the competition included representation from Colorado State Bank and Trust, Ireland Stapleton, Women’s Bean Project, Holland & Hart, Denver Fire Department, JVA Consulting and many more.
The returning business competition took place in the board room of Holland & Hart, LLC. Of the returning businesses, the three finalists were Green Mountain High School, Columbine High School and Thomas Jefferson High School. Green Mountain came in 2nd place with an award of $250 for their business idea to create a book called, “Dear Parents from Teens: Top 10 Things We Want You to Know to Help Us Get through Our Adolescence.” Columbine High School took 1st place winning an award of $500 to continue to fund their multi-dimensional business that uses technology and branded lanyards to encourage students to build resilience and reach out to one another during times of struggle.
The new business competition, which took place at Mountain States Employers Council, showcased finalists from Gateway High School, Highlands Ranch High School, and Eagle Ridge Academy. All participating schools had innovative approaches to suicide prevention in their communities but Eagle Ridge Academy took 2nd place with an award of $250 of seed funding and Gateway High School was awarded 1st place and $500 for their business of branded cell phone cases that help students build compassionate communication skills.

For more information about how your community can get involved with the FIRE Within contact Sally Spencer-Thomas or visit or 720-244-6535.
Gateway High School
1st Place Winners
New Business Competition
Photo: Michael Snively
Eagle Ridge Academy
2nd Place Winners
New Business Competition
Photo: Michael Snively
Green Mountain High School
Returning Business Competition
Photo: Carly Goldsmith

Highlands Ranch High School
New Business Competition Finalists
Photo: Michael Snively
Columbine High School
First Place Winners
Returning Business Competition
Photo: Carly Goldsmith
Thomas Jefferson High School
Returning Business Plan Finalists
Photo: Carly Goldsmith
About the Carson J Spencer Foundation - Sustaining a Passion for Living
The Carson J Spencer Foundation ( is a Colorado nonprofit, established in 2005.  We envision a world where leaders and communities are committed to sustaining a passion for living. We sustain a passion for living by:
  • Delivering innovative and effective suicide prevention programs for working-aged people
  • Empowering youth entrepreneurs to prevent suicide
  • Supporting people bereaved by suicide

The Carson J Spencer Foundation is the proud 2013 recipient of the “Small Nonprofit of the Year” award from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

No comments:

Post a Comment