April 13, 2018
MEDIA:  Caroline Taylor
Communications Manager
(703) 525-2400
Photos found here. High-resolution images available upon request.
$5,000 total distributed to local students to launch startup businesses, 8th grader Nadia Malik to advance to YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition
ARLINGTON, Va. - After months of tirelessly working to perfect their ideas, students in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce's Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) took the stage at the YEA! Investor Panel last night, where they pitched their business plans before a panel of investors and a public audience During this "Shark Tank"-style event, 16 students representing 13 businesses presented their plans  to the investors to receive startup capital to make their business dreams a reality.

2018 YEA! students and investor panelists
"In the last three years of the Investor Panel, we have been blown away by the professionalism, attention to detail, and drive of the YEA! students when presenting their business plans - and this year's students were equally impressive," said Kate Bates, President & CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. "Our 2018 YEA! class certainly went above and beyond, and they continue to inspire us with their hard work and dedication to their businesses. We look forward to seeing their ideas grow moving forward."

With $5,000 available - thanks to our sponsors, including Graham Holdings Company, who made an additional contribution - the panelists went to work to determine the amount of funding to allocate to each student business. Based on the appeal and merit of the students' plans and presentations, panelists awarded each business the following funds:  
  • Jack Stoody, a sophomore at The Potomac School, received $200 for his business, Boxed, an online service that delivers a customer's favorite snacks at an affordable price. 
  • Darrien Killebrew, a senior at The Potomac School received $200 for his business, Checkout, a shopping delivery service. Darrien also received a Business Startup Package, courtesy of Arlington Law Group.
  • W. T. Woodson H.S. junior Andrew Zach received $200 to launch his business, Cryptocore, a cryptocurrency marketplace.
  • Langley H.S. junior Sophia Abuzobaa received $200 for her business, Discount Essentials, a subscription box service that delivers discounted items to senior citizens.
  • Hailey Tanenbaum, a junior at Yorktown H.S., received $200 to start her business, Glam Ceram, which produces one-of-a-kind ceramic plates and bowls.
  • Sarah Naghmi, an 8th grade student at River Bend M.S., received $650 for her business, Imersa, a virtual reality learning software that helps users learn a foreign language, along with key cultural information about a country. Sarah also received a Business Financial Management Package, courtesy of Searle Business Solutions, LLC.
  • Dawitt Daniel, a 5th grade student at Arlington Science Focus, and Anuj Khemka, an 8th grade student at Thomas Jefferson M.S., received $650 for their business, Mad Media, which provides simple, sufficient, and affordable new media marketing services
  • Wakefield H.S. senior Malate Alemu received $650 for his business Saved Savors, an app that takes steps to solve food waste by allowing restaurateurs to sell their unused food at a discounted price.
  • Funston M.S. 8th grader Nicole Randolph received $200 to start her business, Ni-Cool Designs, an at-home beauty service.
  • Nadia Malik, an 8th grader at Rachel Carson M.S., received $800 for her business, PawSwapped, a website application service that allows pet owners to rent their pet to a potential pet owner, giving the pet a place to stay and the client a chance to see if they're ready to adopt a pet of their own.
  • George C. Marshall H.S. junior Ahmei Thevoz received $200 to launch her business, Soup Smiles, a homemade soup subscription delivery service.
  • Jalen Rougier-Roane, a 6th grader at The Bullis School, and Alec Sbily, a junior at Quince Orchard H.S., received $200 for their business, TEDA, a website that provides sports medicine assistance and manufactures athletic training gear for youth athletes.
  •  Sophomores Jonathan deButts of Woodlawn H.S. and Charlie Finn of Yorktown H.S. received $650 to launch their business, Tutor Express, which provides on demand tutoring services.
Arlington Regional Semi-finalist Nadia Malik of PawSwapped
Nadia Malik, founder and CEO of PawSwapped, 
was selected by the investors to advance to 
the YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition in Rochester, New York  to  compete against students across the country for college scholarships and cash prize packages. Nadia  follows last year's Arlington area representative, Tasnim Alam, founder and CEO of Heatless Hotness, who was named one of the top six young entrepreneurs in the nation at the competition. 

"I'm excited and honored to have been selected as a YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition semi-finalist," said Nadia Malik, Arlington's regional semi-finalist, "I hope to meet a lot of amazing people in New York." 

The panel of investors featured the following local business leaders: 
Wallace Cooney, Senior Vice President-Finance and CFO - Graham Holdings Company
Paul Longsworth, Vice President, International Environmental & Nuclear - Fluor
Todd Ihrig, Financial Advisor - H.D. Vest Investment Services
Karen Rosales, CEO - Arlington Community Federal Credit Union
David Isaacson, President & CEO - Beach Geeks, Inc.
R. Douglas Taylor, Jr., Esq., Shareholder - Bean, Kinney & Korman
Tina Leone, CEO - Ballston BID
Dr. Marianne Ward-Peradoza, Dean - Marymount University

Students will now begin marketing and selling their products and services, while preparing for the YEA! Trade Show to showcase their goods to the general public. The Trade Show will be held at Marymount University's Ballston Center on Thursday, June 7 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.


The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is made possible thanks to our sponsors, including:

Premier Sponsors

Innovation Sponsor
University Partner
Investor Panel Reception Sponsor
The Arlington Chamber's Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an after-school program held in partnership with Marymount University that transforms middle and high school students into entrepreneurs. Throughout the academic year, students work closely with local business leaders, community leaders, and educators who use their personal experience to demonstrate how to develop business ideas and objectives, write a business plan, pitch to investors for start-up funds, register with governmental agencies, establish e-commerce and a web presence, and more. By the end of the curriculum, students own and operate fully-formed businesses, which may be continued after graduation from the program.
Click here or on the image above for more on the Chamber's YEA! program.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy national program was founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester, with support from the Kauffman Foundation. Today, the program 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 approximately 700 businesses committed to the economic and civic well being of the community. For more information or to become a member, visit the Chamber website.