March 31, 2017
MEDIA CONTACT:  Caroline Taylor
Communications Manager
(703) 525-2400
Event photos can be found here. High resolution versions available upon request.

Young Entrepreneurs from Arlington Awarded Funding to Launch Startups

Arlington, VA - Last night, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce held the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) Investor Panel. During the event, 11 local middle and high school students, representing 10 businesses, in the Chamber's YEA! program  pitched their business plans to a panel of investors, who determined the amount of startup capital granted to each student to launch his or her business.  

2017 YEA! students and investor panelists
"In the last two 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 as impressive," 
said Kate Bates, President & CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. "Our 2017 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."

Based on the appeal and merit of the students' plans and presentations, panelists awarded each business the following funds:  
  • Ethan Mauger, a 7th grader at Williamsburg M.S., received his full ask of $465 for his business, Private Perfection, a trumpet tutoring business for fourth and fifth grade students.
  • Williamsburg M.S. 8th grade student Selam Ghide received her full ask of $400 for her business, Inquiry, a website that helps students find answers to school-related problems. This includes assisting students with catching up on lessons and classwork after a school absence
  • Sofia Brodsky, an 8th grader at Swanson M.S., received her full ask of $988 to launch her business, Pink Pineapple, which creates luxury bath products to help women feel comfortable and confident in their bodies. As part of its business model, Pink Pineapple donates a portion of its profit to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
  • Langley H.S. sophomores Ann Chen and Gaoyang Ganjin received $250 for their business, BINDY, which wholesells a more handy, convenient type of binder.
  • Williamsburg M.S. 7th grade student Bethel Ghide received her full ask of $500 to start her business, Dessert in a Jar, which sells delicious and convenient desserts that are simple to make, without all the effort in the kitchen.
  • Bodhi Patel, a freshman at Wakefield H.S., received $500 for his business, Bodhi's Light, LLC, designed to help children and adults find inner peace, self-love, and growth, despite outside stresses.
  • Anneka Noe, a junior at Langley H.S., received $500 for her business Tutor Time. This business connects Washington, D.C. metro area high school students, who are seeking community service opportunities, to elementary school students needing tutoring in mathematics
  • K-12 Academy freshman Tyler Muse received $250 for his business Replay My Gear, which collects used sports equipment to donate to young athletes who are unable to afford it. In addition to $250 in capital contributions, Tyler received a Business Startup Package, courtesy of Arlington Law Group.
  • Swanson M.S. sixth grader Charlotte Cunningham received her full ask of $483 to start her business, Youth Neighborhood Care (YNC), which neighborhood residents can use to hire youth to assist with everyday chores and tasks.
  • Tasnim Alam, a senior at Wakefield High School, received her full ask of $800 for her business, Heatless Hotness, which sells heat-free hair curlers that are convenient to use and create salon-like results.
Arlington Regional Semi-finalist Tasnim Alam of Heatless Hotness with Kate Bates and Paul Longsworth of Fluor
After deliberation by the investors, Tasnim Alam, the founder and CEO of Heatless Hotness, was selected
to advance to the Regional Semi-Finals of the YEA! Saunders Scholars National College Scholarship competition in  Rochester, New York in May. Here, she  will compete for college scholarships, cash prize packages, and the opportunity to attend America's Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. courtesy of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm excited and honored to have been selected as a YEA! Saunders Scholars Semi-finalist," said Tasnim Alam, Arlington's Regional Semi-Finalist, "And I hope to meet a lot of amazing people in New York." 
The panel of investors featured the following local business leaders:  Kelly Shooshan, representing the Ballston BID Doug Taylor  of Bean, Kinney & Korman, P.C. David Isaacson o f Beach Geeks, Inc. Paul Longsworth  of Fluor Pinkie Dent Mayfield  of Graham Holdings Company Todd Ihrig of  H.D. Vest Investment Services; and  Kevin Shooshan  of The Shooshan Company.

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 is planned for May 18 at the  Ballston BID   Farmers Market from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. 


For access to this release and other statements by the Chamber, click  here.
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The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is made possible thanks to our sponsors, including
Premier Sponsor
Innovation  Sponsor
University  Sponsor
Investor Panel Grand  Sponsor
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.
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 over 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 .