The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a year-long, after-school program that teaches local 11-to-18-year-old students how to start and run their own real businesses. The program was developed at the University of Rochester 10 years ago, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber introduced it to the Pierce County community last year. The program teaches students how to brainstorm business ideas, write business plans, interact with business professionals, pitch their business plans to potential investors, secure funding, legally register their businesses, participate in a trade show, and launch their businesses.
“This is a very unique program where kids can actually launch real businesses or social movements,” said Young Entrepreneurs Academy Program Director Lynnette Buffington.
Young Entrepreneurs Academy instructors Aaron Donaldson, Cornerstone Advisory Group owner, and Kevin Hayes, Tactical Marketing Group principal, awarded scholarships to the following students:
- Bellarmine Prep freshman Gracie Weiss — Creator of Shout!, a consumer app that allows its users the benefit of receiving feedback about their daily outfits and current fashion trends;
- Lincoln High School senior Arthur Hagen and Stadium High School junior LaMondtra Atkins — Co-creators of Portz, which produces athletic shoes that incorporate sewn-in ankle braces to stabilizes ankles and help prevent injuries;
- Lincoln High School senior Cyrus Singleton — Creator of Re’Ussu, a customized clothing company that specializes in T-shirts and hoodies, providing each client with a piece of fashion they think of as their own;
- Mount Tahoma High School senior Jessica Bokoskie — Creator of Sunny Beginnings, which produces fresh, individually-jarred breakfast muffin and oatmeal mixes that aim to make it easier to create homemade breakfasts;
- Mount Tahoma High School senior Lyric Swanson and Tacoma School of the Arts junior Madison Chavez — Co-creators of The Art of Memories, which will provide customized memory books featuring personalized portraits and stylized drawings from artists/owners that are tailored to each individual clients’ needs.
- Stadium High School freshman Sam Wheelock — Creator of Teen Tech Tutors, which provides one-on-one technology support services to the community, especially the elderly or otherwise challenged.