Applications Open for LEAP’s 2017 Lansing Youth Startup Expo

Young Entrepreneurs Compete For More Than $10,000 in Prize Money

LANSING, Mich. – The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) invites young entrepreneurs and innovators to participate in the 4th Annual Lansing Youth Startup Expo, scheduled to take place on March 29, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Lansing Center. Participation in the Youth Startup Expo is free and open to all middle and high school students residing or attending school in Ingham, Eaton, or Clinton Counties. In order to participate, students must submit a business plan and develop a pitch presentation, which will be delivered at the Expo event. Through participation in the Expo, students will develop the skills needed to become an entrepreneur or small business owner, such as critical thinking skills, learning to conduct market evaluation and profitability assessments, increased confidence, and effective presentation skills. In addition, participants will receive a free lunch and will compete for more than $10,000 in prizes over 20 categories, ranging from Best Social Justice Innovation to Best Booth Display.

The Youth Startup Expo is the annual culminating event for the Lansing Youth Startup Challenge initiative. The Youth Startup Challenge is a unique regional approach to growing and supporting youth entrepreneurship. A strategic partnership between LEAP, 5 Minute Tops, and the Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce, the initiative focuses on connecting school districts and other youth programs to help young entrepreneurs access and become familiar with essential business development tools, resources, and training to help them develop critical business skills at an earlier age.

“It’s important that we engage and introduce our youth to the possibilities of entrepreneurship,” said Tony Willis, Director of New Economy at LEAP. “Empowering the next generation to think critically about their business ideas and helping them build the confidence needed to pursue those ideas, contributes to the future vitality of our region’s economy.”

LEAP’s Youth Startup Expo programming began in 2010 with the Next Bright Idea pitch competition. In 2013, LEAP began working with the Generation E Institute to offer educators with the tools to teach entrepreneurship in the classroom. In 2014, LEAP held the first-ever regional Lansing Celebrates Youth Entrepreneurship expo at the Lansing Center for students to present their ideas to judges and the public while competing for $10,000 in prize dollars. Beginning in 2015, LEAP worked connect additional partners and work with school districts and other youth programs to offer this opportunity to students who are already developing their ideas.

“I’m excited to see LEAP’s youth-focused efforts continuing to promote entrepreneurship and highlight our region’s young talent,” said Bob Trezise, President and CEO of LEAP. “Year after year, these young adults bring fresh new ideas to the Youth Startup Expo. LEAP, our partners at 5 Minutes Tops and the Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce, and our member sponsors are proud to be helping area youth learn how to share and turn their passions into marketable ideas.”

To help students prepare for the Expo, 5 Minutes Tops offers a series of events across all three counties, and the Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce offers the Youth Entrepreneur Academy (YEA!), a youth-focused business training program, from October to May each year. 

Students can register online for the Lansing Youth Startup Expo until March 1, 2017.


About LEAP

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all—working every day to grow, retain and attract business.