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May 23, 2018

SAGE and the City of Henderson to Host National Tournament for Teen Entrepreneurs

Current SAGE mentors stand together and pose for a photo.

Teen entrepreneurs from across the nation are traveling to Henderson, Nevada, on May 25–27, 2018, to compete for prize money, trophies, and the right to represent the USA in Durban, South Africa in a global competition in August. The event is co-sponsored by the California State University, Chico SAGE team and the City of Henderson’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism.

Regional champion teams from 13 high schools representing six states will compete in the 16th SAGE USA tournament at The Westin Lake Las Vegas.

There are two categories of competition. The first category is the Best Socially-Responsible Business and the second category is the Best Social Enterprise. Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) is modeled after interscholastic sporting events.

“Instead of competing on speed, strength, or endurance, we provide teens with a chance to compete based on the creativity and impact of their socially-responsible businesses,” said Curt DeBerg, SAGE’s executive director.

One of the winning teams from last year, Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo, New York, is returning to Henderson.

“I’m excited to showcase all the improvements we made based on the helpful feedback we received from last year’s judges at SAGE USA,” said Marissa Brandel, co-CEO of Scents by Essence, which makes essential oil-based room spray. “We have learned so much through SAGE, and I can’t wait to share our hard work.”

Celia Rahill, Brandel’s co-CEO with Scents by Essence, added, “I’m excited to return to SAGE USA and network with the other amazing student-entrepreneur teams. Learning about their companies is one of the coolest parts of the event because we get to meet teens who are making a big impact on their communities.”

SAGE was founded at Chico State in 2002 by DeBerg, who is also a business professor. The entrepreneurship education program is now operating in 22 countries. Each year, the SAGE home office in Chico selects a host city for the national competition. This is the second consecutive year that the national event is in Henderson.

Barbra Coffee, the director of Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Henderson, said, “We were honored to have SAGE bring the national competition to Henderson last year. When they asked if we would host again this year, of course, we said yes.”

Coffee added that the SAGE USA tournament is an excellent opportunity to highlight Henderson to our nation’s future leaders, as well as the community leaders who come to SAGE USA to judge the teams.

DeBerg’s goal is to expand SAGE from 6 states to 10 next year and from 22 countries to 30.

“With continued support from socially-responsible companies, the sky is the limit for SAGE. I dream that the SAGE World Cup will someday become the creativity and sustainability Olympics for youth,” he said. “Someday, the SAGE World Cup might take place in Henderson.”

Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE), founded at CSU, Chico in 2002, is an international network that links secondary school student organizations to mentors from local universities and businesses. Its purpose is to create a global community of teenage entrepreneurs sharing a common purpose: to make the world a better place. Under the direction of university student mentors from Chico State, high school SAGE teams create commercial and social ventures in an ethical and socially responsible manner. Additional information about SAGE can be found at http://sageglobal.org

Curt DeBerg
Executive Director, SAGE
Professor, College of Business
California State University, Chico