Middle and high school students who have dreams of owning their own business are encouraged to apply for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) and attend an informational meeting from 6 to 7 p.m on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The meeting will be held at the Clovis Chamber of Commerce, 325 Pollasky Ave. The chamber puts on the academy, which will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday at Clovis Community College from Nov. 3 through early May 2016.
Through the seven month program, students learn how to generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans and pitch their idea to a panel of investors — Shark Tank style.
“They have a real business by the end of the class and real investors are giving them money to expand their businesses,” said Fran Blackney, YEA! program manager. “We had a group of girls in the last session who created decorative grips for tennis rackets, and the investors gave them $900 to get (the equipment) to make polka dot grips. They were even awarded a $500 gift card to Sam’s Club to get what they need for their business.”
Clovis East student Jessica Chilingerian was one of Chameleon Grips’ developers, along with friends Alyssa Melillo, Violette Ballecer and Sarahi Nunez.
“I have enjoyed all our teachers and class discussions,” Chilingerian said of YEA!. “With their guidance, I am able to formulate new approaches to the obstacles I face. I’ve learned that being able to adapt is crucial to your business success.”
In the last session, 22 students were enrolled and 13 of them pitched six business ideas to investors. The investors answered with $3,300 total to cover startup costs for the teens’ various endeavors.
There is room for 24 students in grades seven through 12 in this year’s session. Applications are available at the Clovis Chamber of Commerce or online at www.clovischamber.com/programs/young_entrepreneurs_academy. For additional information contact Fran Blackney at (559) 299-7363.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) informational meeting is from 6 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 25, in the Clovis Chamber of Commerce, 325 Pollasky Ave. Applications can be found at clovischamber.com. Contact: Fran Blackney, (559) 299-7363.