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"Youth Start-Ups" – Online Competition for School Students

The national "Youth Start-Ups" competition invites young people between the ages of 16 and 21 to put their business ideas in the industrial, trade and services sectors into practice in a virtual business game. Participants simulate managing a company in the game based on their own business plan.

The concept behind "Youth Start-Ups"

"Youth Start-Ups" is a nationwide, online business game contest organized by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Young people aged between 16 and 21 are invited to enter the competition and contribute their own business ideas in the industrial, trade and services sectors. The prerequisite is that they present an innovative product idea.  The aim is to market the product successfully under realistic conditions in a virtual business world. Participants are supported by e-learning modules. Information on career guidance links up the virtual business world with the competitors' own career opportunities.

Unique about this concept is the combination of an ideas competition, an online business game contest, e-learning modules and an expert system. It also serves to encourage the skills defined in the national education standards.
All 16-to-21-year-old participants experience all stages of company development in this two-phase online business game. They come to know more about setting up and developing a company through self-organized learning. Supervision and support from a teacher is useful but not imperative. Participants can acquire the required knowledge themselves in different categories in both phases of the game (learning modules on the e-learning campus, avatar, glossary, self-testing).

All interested young people are entitled to participate in the "Youth Start-Ups" contest. However, awards can only be given to pupils and trainees in the 10th class or above, who have not yet begun higher education and/or completed their first vocational training. Individuals and teams of up to six are welcome to participate, but participants are encouraged to form teams.

The "Youth Start-Ups" competition

The "Youth Start-Ups" online contest consists of two phases. Young people are entitled to submit applications and enter the competition during the entire period of the contest.

Phase 1: The business plan phase

Participants begin by developing a business idea in the industrial, trade or services sector, taking into account production techniques, market potential and company objectives. They then draw up a business plan. Here they have online support from a business plan assistant. There is also a hotline for queries. The business plans are assessed by a panel of experts.

Phase 2: The business game phase

During the business game phase, the participants start, plan and manage their virtual company. The company's development over a total of eight years is simulated. The school students receive specialist advice from a virtual Business Angel or from experts per e-mail.

Examples of product ideas in recent years:

  • Spectacles which use a microchip to master all the functions from a mobile to an organizer (PDA) to Internet access
  • Steering wheel sensors which prevent microsleep 
  • Varifocal spectacles with an integrated distance sensor which switches automatically from reading to normal mode
  • Mobile phone chip with simultaneous interpreting function 
  • Street lamps with motion detectors based on energy-saving LED technology 

The aim of "Youth Start-Ups" is to

  • Raise young people's awareness of the issue of company start-ups and high-technology
  • Encourage school students to demonstrate responsibility, initiative and entrepreneurial talent 
  • Help school students to find out more about economic processes through "learning by doing"
  • Familiarize young people with self-organized learning through online modules which are both entertaining and scientifically founded
  • Integrate "Youth Start-Ups" in teaching in order to supplement curricula in the areas of science, technology and economics
  • Provide guidance for future studies and careers

Here you can find information on the wide vareity of partners who make the Youth Start-Ups Competition possible.

Additional information

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© 08/29/2015 00:03 Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung