South-Western - Management  
Contest Gives Entrepreneurs Tools to Dream
Topic Entrepreneurship
Key Words Entrepreneur, business plan
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News Story

Allen Eubanks from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma has always wanted to own his own business. Now, as a semifinalist in the Dream Ace contest, he has a chance to make his wish a reality. The winner of the contest will be awarded an Ace Hardware store, valued at $1 million.

Eubanks says the contest appealed to him because he has always been handy, and he loves hardware stores. Eubanks was selected from 5,400 applicants to represent Oklahoma. A question and answer session narrowed the contestants down to 20, and a 10-minute presentation closed the gap even further to 12 remaining contestants. The final 12 have been given a battery of personal assessment tests ranging from personality tests to sales and business aptitude evaluations. Eubanks will also participate in a hardware boot camp, where he will be evaluated on hardware acumen, customer-service skills, and home-improvement knowledge.

The contestants’ final challenge will be to present their business plan to the judging committee. The idea for the Dream Ace promotion came about after Ace surveyed its customers and found out that more than 75% of them want to be their own boss, but don’t have the capital to support their dreams.

Questions
1.

Ace Hardware did a study and found that three-fourths of their customers want to be their own bosses. What do you think has contributed to the growing number of entrepreneurs in the American economy? What is behind the desire to be an entrepreneur, even for those who can’t afford to do it, or for whom it is only a dream?

2.

List at least three reasons why people become entrepreneurs.

3.

What characteristics do entrepreneurs need to have in order to be successful at what they do?

4.

The last step in the Ace Hardware contest is to present a business plan to the judging committee. What elements does a good business plan need to include? What should Allen Eubanks be sure to include in his plan?

Source “Contest Gives Entrepreneurs Tools to Dream,” Daily Oklahoman, Feb. 24, 2007, pNA.
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