Arlington, VA - After a successful first year of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) in Arlington, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is excited to begin recruiting for the YEA! class of 2016. Applications, found here, are now available on the Chamber website.
YEA! is a 30-week program open to all students in grades 6-12, that guides students through the process of launching and running their own real businesses or social movements. While participating in YEA!, students receive all the necessary tools to launch their very own real, legal businesses. This includes access to valuable experts like attorneys, accountants, business mentors, and graphic designers; plus an audience with investors for real start-up cash. Students will also have the opportunity to win college scholarships.
One of the student businesses to emerge from the program was Matthew Herrity and Lucky Bakhtawar's Dimes for Dining, a volunteer based organization that raises money for the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) through change donations that are collected monthly by local Arlington students. Dimes for Dining is currently a nonprofit subsidiary of AFAC with the hope to be legally registered as a 1023 EZ. Founder and Executive Director of Dimes for Dining is Matthew Herrity, a rising sophomore at Washington-Lee High School, and Lucky Bakhtawar, a rising senior at Yorktown High School, is President of Dimes for Dining.
After an impressive showing at the Investor Panel, Dimes for Dining was selected as Arlington's Regional Semi-Finalist of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars National College Scholarship competition. Matthew and Lucky were among five students from Virginia and over 100 students nationally selected to compete in the 6th Annual Saunders Scholars Competition Semi-Finals in May in Boca Raton, Florida. Since the Investor Panel, Matthew and Lucky have presented their organization to the business community at Chamber networking events, set up meetings with local business leaders, and created lasting professional relationships both locally and regionally. They have been working hard to get the word out about Dimes for Dining, and are excited about the future of their nonprofit.
"The YEA! program taught me that anything I could envision I could make into a reality," said Matthew Herrity, Founder and Executive Director of Dimes for Dining. "This mindset has been applied to our management of Dimes for Dining and is perpetuating our rapid expansion and success in engaging our community's youth in the fight against hunger in Arlington."
Other Young Entrepreneurs from Virginia included William Bailey, CEO of Will's Gills, an aquarium and pond maintenance service provider out of Lynchburg, Riley Knuckles, CEO of Stand It, a company who creates custom collapsible stands that can hold everything from drinks at game to a tackle box on a beach out of Danville, and Caleb Lafferty, CEO of Flash Go Storage, which produces USB flash drives for use with personal devices.
"The YEA Program has taught me that success comes from within," said Lucky Bakhtawar, President of Dimes for Dining. "Nothing is stopping you but yourself."
Students interested in applying for YEA! class of 2016 should complete the YEA! student application found here. Students can also be nominated using the student nomination form found here. Students do not have to attend school in Arlington, but need to be able to attend class at Marymount University on Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. For more information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy in Arlington, please contact Cassie Bate at 703-525-2400 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.