The Young Entrepreneurs Academy held its investor panel March 24, 2106 at Keiser University Sarasota, and awarded five teams seed money based on passion, feasibility, and ideas. Students had been working in the YEA course on the Florida Gulf Coast since October 2015 under the direction of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. Meeting at the Lakewood Ranch campus of the State College of Florida each week for three hours, the entrepreneurs studied business ideas, formation, and opportunities. They learned about SWOT, the 4 P’s of marketing, the economics of one unit, market research, accounting, communications, web development, and social entrepreneurship.
Based at the University of Rochester, NY with support from the Kauffman Foundation, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) transforms middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Besides classes, the course includes guest speakers and trips to local companies. In 2011 the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to encourage a spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and help build tomorrow’s leaders. The 2016 class was organized and coordinated by Barbara Hines, Sarasota chamber’s leadership chair, and Sonja Kristie, AVP of the Caldwell Trust Company. Both deserve great credit for its success.
Congratulations to the winners for inventor funding -Fay Baldwin, Ben Bogard, and Patrick Wheeler of Uniforms Direct, Anna Corr and Andres Salazar Colina of EmojiLife, Channing Egrie and Max Hamel of Here4YouSRQ, Zach Perron and Kyle Stevens of EZ-Buff, and Emmarose Larson of Crazy Creations of Venice. The grand winner were two sisters, Elizabeth and Gabriella Sgro of You Glow Girl, a social empowerment idea for young girls, which captured the imagination of the judges.
All learning at YEA is real, experiential, and fun. All students benefited, and now look at entrepreneurship with a positive viewpoint.