Local students win start-up funds at Young Entrepreneurs Academy pitch event

hirteen middle and high school students from the Greater Philadelphia area pitched their business ideas before a panel of 10 real-life investors to compete for funding at the Sixth Annual Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Philadelphia Investor Panel Event .
Thirteen middle and high school students from the Greater Philadelphia area pitched their business ideas before a panel of 10 real-life investors to compete for funding at the Sixth Annual Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Philadelphia Investor Panel Event on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at Cabrini University.
The students presented before representatives from some of the area’s biggest companies as well as an audience of more than 200 people, for the opportunity to gain funding for their original ideas – that could be the next big thing.

This year’s class of entrepreneurs includes 13 students in grade 6 through 12 from Aston, Chesterbrook, Chester Springs, Devon, Exton, Havertown, Merion Station, Penn Valley, Philadelphia, Phoenixville, Villanova and Wayne, Pa. At the event, they presented 10 businesses that they have been developing and designing while attending the 2018-2019 YEA! program. Every young entrepreneur had five minutes to pitch their business plans. Based on the appeal and merit of the students’ plans and presentations, the investor panel judges determined the amount of funds to allocate to each business. All of the businesses this year received some funding from the investors.
The participating investors selected one business to advance to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars National College Scholarship competition, where they will compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars in college scholarships, obtain a fast-track application pass to apply to be on ABC’s Shark Tank and win an all-expenses paid trip to attend America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., courtesy of the United States Chamber of Commerce. This year, YEA! Philadelphia students, Parker Bruhns and Lawson Miller of Tech Gloves, were selected to compete in Rochester, N.Y. in May.
The students’ businesses are as follows:
Apollow Pillow, handmade pillows made of recycled material, Shayna Kaye, Kohelet Yeshiva Lab School, grade 8; Olivia Odike, Montgomery School, grade 8
C3 Home Concierge, home concierge service and pet sitting, Christopher Quire, Haverford Middle School, grade 7; Chance Wright, Saint Aloysius Academy, grade 8
Dreams are True, Inc., children’s book publisher, Na’jon Blocker, GW Childs, grade 6
PCBuilds, a gaming computer manufacturer, Matthew Yoon, Harriton High School, grade 10
Rustic Axe Woodworking, wood working, cutting boards designer, Matthew Oliver, Downingtown East, grade 12
Stones of Support, handmade jewelry supporting various non-profits, Samantha Dichter, Harriton High School, grade 11
The Styl3 Box, a subscription tie, pocket square and socks box, Max Fortebuono, Devon Prep, grade 11; John Smith, Jr., Devon Prep, grade 11
Tech Gloves, running gloves with a clear window for using smart devices, Parker Bruhns, Radnor Middle School, grade 8; Lawson Miller, St. Norbert School, grade 7
Vibes 4 Joy, Ishan Haque, Garnet Valley Middle School, grade 8
Harry Hairston, Senior Investigative Reporter, NBC10 served as the emcee for the evening. Bria & Latella’s, Cocco’s Pizza – Aston, Di Bruno Bros., Nothing bundt Cakes, Pagano’s, Philadelphia Pretzel Factory, Raw Monje, Rosati Ice, and Simplicity Creations Bakery were food sponsors. In Between Rivers Photography was the photographer for the event and Culture Matters provided videographer services.
YEA! Philadelphia partners include: Cabrini University, Haverford Area YMCA and the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. The event sponsor was Park Power. Other top supporters of the program include: Bittenbender Construction, Entrust Financial, Forman Family Foundation, Jane Barr Horstman & Assoc., John D. McDonald Memorial Foundation, M&T Bank, My Alarm Center, Santander, TMS II, Wells Fargo, and Your Tech Tamer.
The Investor Panel was comprised of prominent local business people, including:
Gary DeSanto, Park Power
John Lippman, MBA
Chris McCauley, COX Automotive
Tara Radzinski, Sustainable Solutions Corp.
Rich Trotter, Rosati Ice
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