Inspiration and innovation can occur anywhere, even on a bicycle headed to your favorite fishing hole. That is where Brayden Kelley, a 14-year-old who attends Redlands Middle School realized how difficult it is to balance a fishing pole and a tackle box while on two wheels. From there Practical Tackle, a new Grand Junction area business was born. On Tuesday, March 15th, Brayden Kelley was chosen to represent the Grand Junction Young Entrepreneurs Academy in the Saunders Scholarship semifinal competition in Rochester, NY in May. Practical Tackle was also awarded $900 in seed funding to begin making and selling a pouch that attaches to fishing rods and holds lures and other supplies. To see the presentation, click here.

Eleven other young people also pitched their products and services at the event with a total of $7,200 awarded by an investor panel composed of company representatives that sponsor the program. It included: Trevor Johnson, Alpine Bank; John Schmidt, Bank of Colorado; Eric Goertz, Capco; Mayor Phyllis Norris, City of Grand Junction Government; Craig Springer, Home Loan State Bank; Matthew Diers, Mesa County School District 51; Danielle Erickson, StarTek; Jon Labrum, OBJ Group; and Tyler Bittner, WPX Energy.

Thank you to Courtyard by Marriott for donating the room space; Matthew Breman, Chamber Board Chairman, for emceeing the event; Heather Lambeth and Christian Herrera, YEA! Instructors, for helping guide and support the students; Diane Schwenke for facilitating, and the many family members, Mentors, and friends that came and watched the Investor Panel event, and have been supporting our students all year long!

Applications are now available for middle and high school students interested in participating in the next Young Entrepreneurs Academy beginning later this year. Find the application on the Chamber website or email Terri Smatla at

Click here to download full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce April 2016 Newsletter.

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