On March 25, I spent a wonderful evening with 13 high achieving, talented high school students and their parents as they presented their business plans and companies to five CEOs at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, YEA! Investor Panel. The students have worked since November in this after-school course and now have real, operating companies.
Emily Laing and Charles Harris were the overall winners, receiving $1,200 in funding as well as a trip to Arizona to compete in the semifinals for the Saunders National Scholarships that will be awarded in New York. Their company, CEAL Clothing, specializes in dress code apparel.
Other winners included Chameleon Grips that makes customized tennis grips. Partners Alyssa Melillo, Jessica Chilingerian, Violette Ballecer and Sarahi Nunez received $900 in funding and the $500 gift card from Sam’s Club, a national sponsor of YEA!
The business skills and more importantly, personal skills, these students have achieved will last a lifetime. I commend the dozens of business volunteers who worked in the class and Fran Blackney of the Clovis Chamber who, as the YEA! program manager, organized the entire program, sometimes working late into the night.
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The future looks bright, thanks to these students.