Members of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy’s first class are gearing up to present their business ideas to the local business community.
The 22 class members — some who have partnered — will present their plans to an investor panel beginning at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Devorris Downtown Conference Center.
“There will be 16 presentations. Each student has five minutes to present, and then the investors have the chance to ask several questions. At the conclusion of the presentations, the investor panel will deliberate to decide on funding allotments and ultimately determine Blair County’s top YEA! business,” said Jim Kilmartin, program manager.
The winning business will compete in the Saunders Scholar National Competition in Rochester, N.Y., on May 5 against other YEA! student winners, Kilmartin said.
The investor panel is comprised of 11 local business leaders, each contributing $1,200 to the cause.
Kilmartin said it was not difficult to find investors.
“We had many that are excited about entrepreneurism and seeing our youth given opportunities,” Kilmartin said.
Investor panel members are excited about the YEA! program.
“I love the idea of the program as the benefits of having kids thinking with an entrepreneur spirit is very important. In order for any project or endeavor to be successful, careful planning and contingency needs to be considered. I like this investor program as the presenters will have to be providing a thoughtful plan. I believe that this helps young students prepare for life, whether their plans are for starting a business or otherwise,” said Joe DeLeo, Blair Companies vice president of project management.
“I feel YEA! is a great program that allows young energetic students to commit to a program, which requires them to take an idea they have and make it a reality by thinking outside the box and organizing their activities to achieve the goal of creating a ‘micro enterprise.’ As an investor, I hope I’ll be able to add some value to their effort, but the real value is in the experience,” said Dan Hoover, Roaring Spring Water president/CEO.
Patricia Savage, president/CEO of Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries, said the program is invaluable in helping the young people of the community realize their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs.
“Hopefully, several of these participants will be enabled to move forward with their interests because of the investment made by community leaders who believe in the purpose of the YEA! program,” Savage said.
Sheetz Inc. President/CEO Joe Sheetz said he is honored to serve on the first investor panel.
” With so many successful businesses being started by young people and with the growing importance of entrepreneurialism in the global, national and local economies — this program makes perfect sense. Whether it helps get an actual business off the ground or merely convinces a young student to pursue entrepreneurship, the guidance this program provides in creating jobs and new opportunities right here in Blair County is priceless,” Sheetz said.
The public is invited to attend the presentations. There is no charge to attend.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.