TACOMA – Five high school students from the Tacoma-Pierce County area pitched their business ideas before a panel of five investors to compete for funding at the first Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel Presentation Event at Pacific Lutheran University.
The students presented before representatives from some of the area’s biggest companies as well as an audience filled with family, friends and members of the community for the opportunity to gain funding for their original ideas- that could be the next big thing!
About 40 people attended the event, held inside the Regency Room on PLU Campus. This year’s YEA! class is comprised of public students from Tacoma Public Schools and Bellarmine Prep. The Investor Panel Event is one of the program’s three “big events” that take place over the duration of the program.
On Wednesday night, the Investor Panel donated monetary contributions as well as their support and encouragement in their belief that entrepreneurs can make a job—not just take a job—at any age.
The investor panel consisted of the following business professionals:
- Mitch Anderson, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
- Gary Brackett, Business & Political Manager, TacomaAngel Network Coordinator, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
- Beth Delmore, Senior Financial Services Representative, Opus Bank
- Skip Haynes, Chairman, Rainier Connect
- Heather Joy, Manager, Spaceworks Tacoma & Small Business Owner of HOLDstudios
The funds were divided and allocated accordingly to businesses that the investors felt had a well thought out plan and an idea that had a good chance at success.
The investments were as follows:
- Teen Tech Tutors, providing one-on-one technology support services to the community, especially the elderly or otherwise challenged, received $1,000. Owner Sam Wheelock is a freshman at Stadium High School.
- Sunny Beginnings, producing fresh, individually-jarred breakfast muffin and oatmeal mixes that make creating a homemade breakfast easier, received $1,000. Owner Jessica Bokoskie is a senior at Mount Tahoma High School.
- Portz, would produce athletic shoes that incorporates sewn-in ankle braces which stabilizes the ankle and helps prevent injury, received $500. Owners are LaMondtra Atkins, a junior at Stadium High School and Arthur Hagen, a senior at Lincoln High School.
- Shout!, would produce a consumer app that allows its users the benefit of receiving feedback about their daily outfits and current fashion trends, received $400. Owner Gracie Weiss is a freshman at Bellarmine Prep.
Also at the event were two businesses that are still in the research and development process:
- The Art of Memories, would provide customized memory books featuring personalized portrait and stylized drawings from the artists/owners that are tailored to each individual clients’ needs. Owners are Madison Chavez, a junior at Tacoma School of the Arts and Lyric Swanson, a senior at Mt. Tahoma High School.
- Re’Ussu, a customized clothing company that specializes in T-shirts and hoodies, providing each client with a piece of fashion they think of as their own. Owner Cyrus Singleton is a senior at Lincoln High School.
Students will now begin marketing and selling their products and services, and preparing for the YEA! Trade Show to showcase their goods to the general public. The Trade Show will be held on June 1, 2014 at the South Tacoma Farmer’s Market held at the STAR Center. This event is free and open to the public.