Last month, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy student/CEOs met with an investor panel in a “shark tank” like experience to pitch their ideas and ask for seed capital. Eight students were awarded a cumulative total of $7500 to start their enterprises. The students/CEOs will now launch their businesses and participate in a trade show on May 7th at the Mesa Mall where they will sell their products and services before their graduation on May 10th.

In addition to the students presenting to investors, the investor panel selected Aveleen Walsh, CEO of Nature’s Luv, as the 2022 Grand Junction Area Chamber’s Saunders Scholar. Aveleen will be competing in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Semi-Final Virtual Competition, scheduled for later this spring, for the chance to win up to $30,000 in college scholarships and up to $5,000 in cash awards.

Fellow YEA! students that pitched their startup companies and received funding from the Investor Panel included:

Quinn Carter Sudds Soap Company $2,018

Lotus Davidson Lotus’s Mobile Munchies $2,796

Paetyn Graveline Charm Me Knot $300

Ella McClung Your Genesis $1,760

William Neese Three Brothers Baking $586

Adam Pramenko Warm Moments $1,545

Gavin Sullivan QuickIgNight $1,038

Aveleen Walsh Nature’s Luv $773

The Chamber staff is already looking forward to the future and the next class of budding entrepreneurs who will begin their own 26-week odyssey to owning and operating a business in the fall of 2022.

Any student between the ages of 11 and 18 is eligible to apply to the YEA! program and applications will be accepted beginning in April. Students, parents, school counselors, and others interested in learning more are urged to reach out to the Chamber Workforce Coordinator, Kirstin Maska at or call 970-263-2916.

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