The fourth annual Webster Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel took place recently, and by the end of the event, nearly $5,000 was invested.
Webster students venturing into the business world recently pitched their ideas to potential investors.
The fourth annual Webster Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel late in March. More than eight area business professionals and philanthropists gathered to hear presentations on 11 different business and social movement propositions. By the evening’s end, $4,900 was given away to help the 21 Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas high school students get their ventures off the ground.
Representing five business groups from the Webster Schroeder YEA! class were Matthew Grant and Jeffrey Rector of Everything Oatmeal; Alexandria Reed and Martha Lapple of Queen2b; Mitchel Rogers of Digitally Imported Sound; Michael Wojcik and Elizabeth Orbanek of Robust Fitness; and Tyler Vanzo of Smavy.
Representing six business groups from the Webster Thomas YEA! class were Tyler Carges, Josh Janiszewski, Kyle Johnson and Alec Nevin of Extra Services; Steve Speis and Jacob Giudice of Upstate Customs; Sherman Hardy and Andrew Erbe of Klique Athletic Socks; Jami Sassone and Bianca Ulics of Enchanted Bakery; Markye Vinci of Rubino’s Italian Submarines Mobile; and Courtney Weir of Nutrition Mission.
Comprising the 2013 Webster YEA! Investor Panel were Jason Caliri of Vision Automotive Group, Barry Howard of Webster Chamber of Commerce, Jean Sweet of Family First Federal Credit Union, Webster Schools Superintendent Adele Bovard, John Gabriele of Marina Auto Group, Aki Henderson of Henderson Ford Lincoln, Dan Iulianello of Webster Thomas Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and Tricia DeBacco of Webster Schroeder FBLA.
Each business group gave a six-minute presentation to the panel. At the end of the presentations, the investors awarded real money to each business group based on innovation, presentation skills and thoroughness of the business plan.
The business groups also competed for a place in the 2013 YEA! Saunders Scholars Bright Ideas Competition.
Jami Sassone and Bianca Ulics of Enchanted Bakery moved on to the competition, which was held April 25 at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Moving forward, the YEA! groups will launch their businesses and participate in the YEA! Trade Show at Eastview Mall on Saturday, June 1.
The YEA! is a nine-month program that guides high school students through the process of starting a real business, including business plan development, pitching to an investor panel, obtaining funding, launching the venture, managing media campaigns, e-commerce and web development, sales events, and trade shows. Entrepreneur guest speakers, business mentors, and visits to local companies anchor the instruction around real-world applications and experiences.
The end result of the YEA! program, unlike other simulation models, is a fully formed and functioning business, which is carried on by students after graduation.
Launched in 2004 at the University of Rochester, the YEA! program focuses on themes of driving innovation, viewing the world in new ways, recognizing opportunities, valuing risk-taking, networking, providing solutions, and creating value. Students are taught to recognize the power of their ideas and develop the skills necessary to turn those ideas into meaningful enterprises.