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Young Capital District Entrepreneurs Pitch to Investor Panel April 13 at UAlbany’s YEA! Academy

Nine young entrepreneurs ages 10 to 17 who are part of the YEA! Academy at the University at Albany School of Business will present their business plans to a panel of investors on April 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in University Hall on UAlbany’s main campus.
Two students with YEA! Academy instructor William Brigham

YEA! Academy students at UAlbany learned to write their own business plans. Instructor William Brigham is shown with students in class. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

Nine students from La Salle Institute, Bethlehem Middle and High schools, Shaker High, Doane Stuart, Niskayuna, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, and Eagle Point will present their plans.

In Fall 2010, the UAlbany School of Business launched a chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). This year-long, Kauffman Foundation-sponsored program teaches Capital Region middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses.

“These are real companies with real investors,” said School of Business Dean Donald Siegel. “Our students have worked assiduously to develop their business plans, which include a cooking show designed to help teens struggling with diet-related diseases, a youth employment service dedicated to providing consumers with a cost-effective option when searching for laborers, and a company that sells wrist bands dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to worthy causes (such as the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan and drunk driving awareness). Student business plans will be carefully evaluated by our investor panel on April 13th.” 

The students and their ideas for startup companies include:

• Cydney De La Rosa (Age 10): Cydney will produce pads that can be used for cushioning backpacks or making crutches more comfortable.  She attends Doane Stuart.

• Theodora Beneby (Age 11): Theodora plans on starting her own babysitting service. She plans on employing three other babysitters who will care for children ages 1 to 4. She attends Eagle Point Elementary School in Albany.

• Maya Paolasso Martinez (Age 12): Maya would like to start an organic candy line.   She attends Bethlehem Middle School.

• Montana Morrison (Age 13): Montana will host a teen cooking show on a local public broadcasting television station.  She attends Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School in Schenectady.

• Andrea Wade (Age 15): Andrea would like to start a not-for-profit company that produces theme-based wristbands. These wristbands could include a personality trait or interest.   She attends Niskayuna High School.

 Ekong Takor (Age 16): Ekong is starting a Youth Employment Directory.  The Web-based directory helps customers find pre-screened teenagers to do odd jobs. He attends Shaker High School in Colonie.

• Christian Frese (Age 17): Christian has been operating a landscaping business for the past six years, in which he has serviced more than 150 homes. He would like to become one of the most successful landscapers in the area, if not the state.   He attends Bethlehem High School.

• Trevor Martin and Andrew Loffredo (Age 17): Making and selling wristbands.  Proceeds will be donated to support the tsunami relief effort in Japan.  They attend LaSalle Institute.

Students will be available to be interviewed at 7:30 p.m.

The panel of investors acting as judges includes:

• Michael Hoffman and Brian Straughter from Turf Hotels, Inc.;

• Rich Grant from PricewaterhouseCooper;

• Tim Bruculere from Members United Corporation Federal Credit Union; and

• Stephanie Berwick from the Institute of Management Accountants.

Additional investors are Mark Boucher, Peter Cosgrove, Bob Lazar, Kevin McCoy,
Deb Perez
and the New York Business Development Corporation.

The program, which runs through June 11, is taught by William Brigham, director of UAlbany’s award-winning Small Business Development Center. Through the Albany chapter of YEA! Academy, students work with a mentor and will launch and operate legally registered and fully formed enterprises. Students will also showcase their goods and services at the YEA! Trade Show. Historically, more than 50 percent of the young entrepreneurs in the YEA! Program continue their businesses after graduation from the academy.  

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