Free Enterprise Leadership Challenge

The late North Carolina U.S. Senator Jesse Helms always cared deeply about many things, but among his chief concerns were two things: young people and the future of America. With a focus on young people in mind, Helms Center President John Dodd founded FELC in 1995 to teach young people about free enterprise. Since that time, over 9,000 high school students have graduated from FELC.


What Do Students Learn?

Rather than relying on traditional lecture methods, FELC offers a unique opportunity to experience business through fun activities that have practical application. The core activity of the week is a company competition. Students form start-ups and are responsible for getting their companies running and turning a true profit. Just like any new company, students must work to write business plans, create commercials and keep accounting records. This fast-paced activity is supplemented with activities that help all future entrepreneurs. Debates, speech contests, and daily speakers round out a busy week.

Who Can Attend?

If you will be in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade at the start of the school year you are eligible. Students should also have demonstrated a capacity for leadership, be interested in free enterprise and be ready for a challenge. No business experience is required, but students should be willing to work.

Are there Costs Associated with FELC?

A registration fee is due for each accepted student. This fee will cover activities, housing and all meals. Payment must be received before applicants will be formally accepted. If you are seeking financial assistance to attend, please carefully review the Financial Aid Form for additional payment instructions. A refund will be issued if a student applicant is not selected to participate.