K-12 Education

Youth Marketplace

Youth Marketplace is an exciting, hands-on learning unit designed for upper elementary or middle-school students. Together, groups of students create, market, and manage their own businesses. Students learn valuable business skills and can even earn profits in the process. Youth Marketplace involves all students, encourages teamwork, and, most importantly, is FUN for everyone!

Integrated Curriculum

The Youth Marketplace curriculum units cover:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business Plan
  • Financing a Business
  • Marketing and Selling
  • Preparing for the Youth Marketplace Event

The program is designed to be flexible in scheduling and content so that the opportunity for students exist in any school environment. The program can be done as an intensive project or can be spread out over the course of a semester (typically 20-25 hours). In the end, students learn about starting and running a business in the best way possible — through real life experience!

Practical Experience

Business teams write a business plan and apply for a business start-up loan through a real bank or lending institution. Students create a business logo, business cards, and other marketing materials to help sell their products. Entrepreneurs from the community are invited to participate in classroom activities.

Family and Community Involvement

Classmates participate in a one-day Youth Marketplace Event that is held in a mall or some public location. At the event, student entrepreneurs set up their businesses and sell their product and service creations.

Benefits of the Program

  • Flexible scheduling and unlimited program opportunities
  • Integrated curriculum
  • An experience students will remember for a lifetime
  • Impacts a large student audience
  • Successfully promotes school-to-career initiatives
  • Increased community involvement and community visibility


Contact Information:

Judi Eyles, Assistant Director

ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

2625 North Loop Drive

Suite 2610

Ames, IA 50010