The Greater Pensacola Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) had their investor presentations on Tuesday, March 24 at the University of West Florida’s Center for Fine & Performing Arts. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a national program that takes students through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year. Greater Pensacola’s YEA! is a 30 week program from November to April that Escambia and Santa Rosa county students participate in by developing a business plan, a presentation and pitch to local investors in a Shark Tank like environment. Throughout their class time, students participated in business visits with The Bodacious Olive, Chick-Fil-A Nine Mile Road and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. They had guest speakers present about accounting, insurance and risk management, niche marketing, government resources, social entrepreneurship, banking, and a roundtable discussion with local CEOs. For seven weeks, students had a business mentor that participated in weekly classes to assist them in thinking through all aspects of the business plan. They worked with graphic designers and web developers and had plenty of support from instructor Randy Ramos and program managers Terri Ramos and Erin Luttrell, and Kelly Reeser.
The 10 students pitched eight business plans to area business leaders and investors. Each business had six minutes to present a PowerPoint presentation, speech and showcase their product or service. Investors were limited to three questions per student. The winner was Ceirra Moore, CEO of Coterie Beads will be representing Great Pensacola YEA! at the regional competition in Boca Raton in May. Thomas Booker, CEO with Your Just Desserts was named runner up and was awarded with an additional $500 gift card from Sam’s Club to help launch his business.
Spark of Creativity (SOCA) – Fun STEM learning at home!
Ian Robertson, CEO
6th Grade, Home School
Took home $510 from investors.
Coterie Beads – Fun, Fashionable Jewelry for YOU!
Ceirra Moore, CEO
5th Grade, Blue Angels Elementary
Took home $985 from investors.
Customized by You – Customized for you, By you.
Rylee Ballard, CEO
6th Grade, Sims Middle School
Catherine Lambert, COO
9th Grade, Pace High SchoolTook home $515 from investors.
Missing Petals – Awareness Promotes Safety.
Grace Stanley, CEO6th Grade, Brown Barge Middle School
Took home $950 from investors.
Flag Masters – Customizable electronic mailbox flag covers.
Chance VanOverberghe, CEO
7th Grade, Sims Middle SchoolChandler VanOverberghe, COO
7th Grade, Sims Middle School
Took home $650 from investors.
Carey Creations – origami-style photo album
Michael Carey, CEO
6th Grade, Workman Middle School
Took home $410 from investors.
ChargerGuard – Protect your Investment
Evan Naquin, CEO
10th Grade, Gulf Breeze High SchoolTook home $780 from investors.
Your Just Desserts – Home of the Happy Cupcake
Thomas Booker, CEO
9th Grade, Pensacola High School
Took home $1,200 from investors.
Robert Barnes, Owner/Operator of Chick-fil-A Nine Mile Road
Greg Beck, Founder of Beck Property Company, Inc.
Maggie Conaghan, VP of Compliance at Central Credit Union
Chad Henderson, Founder of THG Investments
Gary Sammons, Western District GM for Gulf Power Company
Mike Myhre, State Director of Florida Small Business Development Center Network
Peter Nowak, Owner/Operator of Nowak Enterprises, Inc.
Pam Hatt, Director of Marketing at Pen Air Federal Credit Union
Andrew Rothfeder, partner with Studer Community Development Group
Cyndi Warren, CPA and managing member for the Pensacola office of Warren Averett, LLC
Whitney Fike, Sparkplug Social
John Gormley, BBVA Compass
Mort O’Sullivan, Warren Averett O’Sullivan Creel
Chris Thom, ToEmploy
Kelly Massey, Small Business Development Center
Bri Snellgrove, Social Icon
Carol Ann Thomas, Retired Pensacola News Journal
Dorian Zwiereqicz, Small Business Development Center
Tyler Tiwari, Global Business Solutions, Inc.