On Tuesday, March 14th at 6:00PM, our student entrepreneurs will finally take the stage to present their business plans in front of a panel of local industry leaders. Our students have been tirelessly practicing and polishing their presentations and are ready to share their hard work with you!
This year’s class is ready to take the stage and present their businesses in hopes of securing funding to take their ideas to the next level. Eight students in grades 6 through 12 representing eight new businesses from the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) will have five minutes to pitch their business plans to prominent local members of the business community. This is their one big opportunity to “sell” their business to investors.
These student-run businesses can have more of an impact on the Grand Valley than you may think. According to a poll completed by Gallup Student, many youth have entrepreneurial aspirations and energy that could help drive future job creation in the country. Nearly 8 in 10 students (77%) in grades 5 through 12 say they want to be their own boss, 45% say they plan to start their own business, and 42% say they will invent something that changes the world. Fostering an entrepreneurial environment for young minds to grow in reflects on our community’s willingness to support local business and growth.
This event allows the students to practice their public speaking skills, learn how to sell their idea/business, and persuade local business leaders to invest in their business during the program’s annual YEA! Investor Panel – “Shark Tank” style. Based on the appeal and merit of the students’ plans and presentations, a panel of 11 investors of will determine the amount of funds to allocate to each business. After our young entrepreneurs present to the investors, one of the students will be selected as the Saunders Scholar and will compete regionally for up to $50,000 in college scholarships. This year that regional competition will tentatively take place in Rochester, New York in June 2023.
Our 10th Annual Investor Panel will take place at the Courtyard by Marriot here in Grand Junction. We strongly urge our community to show their support for fostering free enterprise in today’s youth by watching the Investor Panel and cheering on the community’s youngest business owners. This is also an excellent opportunity for middle and high school students interested in applying for the program in the future to see what YEA! has provided the current class in terms of tools and skills. We hope to see a full crowd to show support for our hard-working young entrepreneurs!
We want to especially thank our sponsors:
Presenting Sponsor: City of Grand Junction
Premier Sponsors: Home Loan Insurance, Mesa County Workforce Center
Scholarship Sponsors: Chevron, Canva Credit Union, Fidelity Mortgage, Fisher’s Market, JGMS Inc, No Coast Sushi Investor Sponsors: ProVelocity, VanWinkle Enterprises
Transportation Sponsor: Absolute Prestige Limo & Ranch
Supporting Partners: Colorado Mesa University, Courtyard by Marriott, Mesa Mall and Western Colorado Community College