Local Investors Judge Young Entrepreneurs' Business Pitches

  • 4/11/2018 8:45:34 PM
  • Jesse Smith
  • Local News

SHELBY, OH - In its third year, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Mansfield included more students than ever into its program, which helps young business owners with their startups. Last year, the program graduated three students and funded their proposals. This year, the program has grown to include ten students, nine of which presented their business plans at North Central State College's Kehoe Center in Shelby on Wednesday night.

"The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a 21-week course where we take middle school and high school students all the way through the steps of becoming an entrepreneur," said Nikki Lewis, Program Manager for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. "They start out with developing an idea into a business concept, they just finished writing actual business plans, kind of everything you need to know as you're building a business."

A panel of local business owners and investors appeared at the event, asking questions to students about their sustainability and their operating costs as they finished their presentations.

"Think 'Shark Tank'," explained Lewis. "They all have five minutes to pitch their businesses. They have to talk about what their idea is, they talk about their marketing strategies, and go over financials. At the very end of their pitch, they make a request for startup funding. Those requests range anywhere from $400 to $1,400. So tonight, we're going to give away $4,250 to seven businesses. One lucky winner is going to go on to represent Richland County at the Saunders Scholars National Competition in Rochester next month."

Lewis also noted that the program will be accepting applicants for next year's prospective students.

"We're going to be opening up applications for next year's program shortly, and we'll be looking to start that in the fall around September," Lewis said. "They can call or email me at the Chamber of Commerce, or drop in at the Chamber of Commerce at any time and ask anyone on staff."

Nikki Lewis can be reached at the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce by phone at (419) 522-3211, or by email at [email protected].

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