May 8, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Meredith Smith 
Communications Manager
High resolution images available upon request

Young Entrepreneurs from Arlington Awarded Funding to Launch Startups

Arlington, VA - On Thursday, May 7, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., student entrepreneurs took the stage in the Reinsch Library Auditorium at Marymount University to present their business plans before a panel of local business leaders and a public audience. The students impressed the crowd with their business plans and presentations and received funding from local businesses. 


Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Arlington students

Students, ages 12-18, representing seven businesses and social movements from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Arlington had six minutes to pitch their business plans to prominent local members of the business community, during the program's inaugural YEA! Investor Panel Event. Based on the appeal and merit of the students' plans and presentations, panelists awarded each business or social movement the following funds:  

  • CAY received $300. The CEOs are Eric Lusby, a freshman at Washington-Lee High School, and Ted Meany, an eighth-grader at Williamsburg Middle School.
  • Dimes for Dining received $1,000. Founder and Executive Director of Dimes for Dining is Matthew Herrity, a freshman at Washington-Lee High School, and Lucky Bakhtawar, a junior at Yorktown High School, is President of Dimes for Dining. 
  • EchoBeatz received $200. Owner and CEO Taylor Francis is in seventh grade at Williamsburg Middle School. 
  • Kendra's Closet Originals received $800. CEOs Kendra Levy and Lucas Degraw are both seniors at Yorktown High School. 
  • Vinces received $700. Founder and CEO Kirill Usubyan is in seventh grade at Swanson Middle School. 
  • Winnerzz received $220. CEO Akash Bansal is a freshman at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. CFO Munir Ben Jemma is in eighth grade at H-B Woodlawn.
  • Z-14 Cases received $780. Founder and CEO Zanab Farooq is a sophomore at Yorktown High School.

Each business received at least the amount of their ask, with several businesses receiving significantly more than their funding request. 


The Investor Panel also award Zanab Farooq and her company Z-14 Cases a $500 shopping spree from Sam's Club, a National YEA! partner.  Z-14 creates custom, one of a kind, handmade phone cases.

Pinkie Dent Mayfield of Graham Holdings Company also announced that Graham Holdings Company would be funding 50% of each business ask in addition to what had already been received by each business group. 


(L-R) Matthew Herrity and Lucky Bakhtawar with their mentor Darren Tully (center) of Cardinal Bank

One of the big stories of the evening was Matthew Herrity and Lucky Bakhtawar's Dimes for Dining. Dimes for Dining is a volunteer based organization that raises money for the Arlington Food Assistance Center through change donations that are collected monthly by local Arlington students. Dimes for Dining is currently a non-profit subsidiary of the Arlington Food Assistance Center with the hope to be legally registered as a 1023 EZ. Dr. Matt Shank, President of Marymount University was so moved by Dimes for Dining's pitch, that he made a $500 contribution to their business as well. Dimes for Dining was also selected as Arlington's Regional Semi-Finalist of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars National College Scholarship competition. Matthew and Lucky will head to Boca Raton, Florida, at the end of the month to participate in the Regional Semi-Finals for a chance to attend America's Small Business Summit in Washington, DC (courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), where they will compete for a chance to win up to $50,000 in college scholarships and the opportunity to audition for ABC's "Shark Tank."  


"We have been extremely impressed by what these students have accomplished so far this year in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy program, and the Investor Panel was no exception," said Kate Roche, President & CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. "We look forward to seeing the development of these businesses moving forward."


The Investor Panel included the following: 

  • Tina Leone - CEO, Ballston BID
  • Andrea Campbell Davison - Associate Attorney, Bean, Kinney & Korman
  • Paul Longsworth - Vice President, International Environmental & Nuclear, Fluor
  • Pinkie Dent Mayfield - Vice President-Corporate Affairs and Special Assistant to the Chairman, Graham Holdings Company
  • Kevin Lander - Executive Director, JP Morgan Chase
  • Ron Novak - Executive Vice President, Segue Technologies
  • David Isaacson - President & CEO, Technology Management, Inc
  • Robb Parker - General Manager, Vornado/Charles E. Smith

Students will now begin marketing and selling their products and services, and preparing for the YEA! Trade Show to showcase their goods to the general public. The Trade Show will be May 21, 2015, at the Ballston Farmers Market from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. This event will be free and open to the public. 


The YEA! Investor Panel is made possible thanks to our sponsors , including 
Premier Partner Technology Management, Inc.
Investor Panel Grand Sponsor JP Morgan Chase ,  
and University Partner Marymount University .

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Arlington is a groundbreaking and exciting program presented by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce that transforms middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors, and actually launch and run their own real, legal, fully formed companies and social movements. For more information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Arlington, please call 703-525-2400. 


The Young Entrepreneurs Academy national program was founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation and today serves thousands of students in communities across America. 

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Founded in 1924, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is a member-centric, volunteer-based, non-profit organization of over 700 businesses committed to the economic and civic well being of the community. For more information or to become a member, visit