On Sat., Dec 15, a group of teens from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas (BGCD) participated in a Shark Tank-style competition, presenting business plans to a panel of judges for a cash prize.

The competition was facilitated through a partnership between Young Professionals in Finance (YPF) and BGCD. YPF volunteers hold bi-weekly mentoring sessions for BGCD high school Club members at the East Dallas Club. Each fall, the teen participants learn about entrepreneurship.

At the end of the semester, teens are broken into small groups, presented a business case study, and asked to derive a solution with a YPF mentor. On Saturday, BGCD Club members presented a business plan to judges, in a similar fashion to ABC’s Shark Tank television show. Judges evaluated the group on the thoroughness and the execution of the business plans, and the winning team will be awarded a cash prize.

“We want to show them that there are a lot of ways of having success after college and what it means to own a business,” said Jody Staggs, YPF Co-President and Vice President at SWK Holdings Corporation. “We also want to expose them to some of the soft skills that we think are lacking in traditional classrooms.”

Founded in 2007, YPF brings together young professionals in Dallas’ finance community. Originally formed with the goal of providing a social and networking platform, the group quickly broadened its focus to incorporate philanthropy and make a meaningful impact on the community and its youth. YPF partnered with BGCD in 2008, and aims to educate teen Club members on networking, sales, communications, and being financially savvy.