Four high school students from Prospect High School pitched their business ideas before a panel of five real-life investors to compete for funding at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel Presentation Event, a Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce program.
The students presented before representatives from some of the area's biggest companies as well as an audience filled with family, friends and members of the community, for the opportunity to gain funding for their original ideas.
About 40 people attended the event, held at Prospect High School. The Investor Panel Event is one of the program's three "big events" that take place over the duration of the nine-month program.
On Thursday night, the Investor Panel donated monetary contributions and in-kind donations, as well as their support and encouragement in their belief that students can make a job.
The investor panel consisted of the following business professionals: Terry Horan, president and chief executive officer Robert Bosch Tool Corp., Community Corporate Partner; Susan Dozer, second vice president and branch manager, American Chartered Bank, Banking Partner; Jill Friedrichs, secretary/member, Mount Prospect Lions Club; Richard Sassan, owner, B & E Accounting & Tax CPA P.C.; and Michael G. Davey, owner, Mount Prospect Child Care Center.
The funds were divided and allocated to the businesses that the investors felt had a well-thought out plan, and an idea that had a good chance at success. The investments were as follows:
Zzz Sock, a retail business which manufactures blankets that eliminates the need to make a bed, received $2,100. Owners are Kyle Blatt and Jeff Blethen, both seniors at Prospect High School.
HomeBox, a college care package service, received $400. The owner is Maddy Moloney, a senior at Prospect High School.
Striive, a new water bottle design, received $500. The owner is Dan Sweet, a senior at Prospect High School.
Students will now begin marketing and selling their products and services, and preparing for the YEA! Trade Show to showcase their goods to the general public. The Trade Show will be held from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at a location to be announced. This event is free and open to the public, check mountprospectchamber.org for updated information.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy or YEA!, is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in grades six through 12 through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year. Students work in close cooperation with local leaders of industry, community members, and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity and much more.
By the end of the class, students own and operate fully functioning businesses that can be carried on after graduation. Students learn to make a job -- not just take a job.
YEA!'s direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. In 2008, YEA! "spun-off" from the University of Rochester, where it was formed in 2004, with support from the Kauffman Foundation, to create its own nonprofit corporation, YEA! Inc. This spinoff currently is launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country to provide comprehensive, exciting entrepreneurship education, leadership development and innovation training to youth between the ages of 11 and 18 years old and providing them with skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century.
For information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, call (585) 272-3535 or visit www.yeausa.org.
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