By ALYSSA LOWE
Manager of Marketing and Communications, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce
Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a Kosciusko Chamber initiative, conducted an Investors’ Panel on Thursday, March 26, with Tippecanoe Valley High School students. YEA is a nine-month program that guides students in high school through the process of starting a real business, including business plan development, pitching to an investor panel, obtaining funding, launching the venture, managing media campaigns, e-commerce and web development, sales events, and trade shows.
Entrepreneur guest speakers, business mentors, and visits to local companies anchor the instruction around real-world applications and experiences. The end result of the YEA Program, unlike other simulation models, is a fully formed and functioning business, which is carried on by students after graduation.
This year’s investors included: Jeff Dryer, Paragon Medical; Grace College Dean of the School of Business and Professor of Marketing Jeffrey K. Fawcett; Founder and owner of Center Street Partners, Brad Skiles; Assistant Vice President/Business Relationship Manager at 1st Source Bank, Doug Baumgardner; and Club Manager at Sam’s Club, Roger Roberts.
Michael Thacker, TVHS student, won first prize and will go on to compete in New York for the finals with his business, “Invictus Photography.”
Also placing was group Tabitha Holloway, Breanna Conley, Isabel Warren, Miriam Elbs and Jade Vallarin with “Bittersweet Bakery,” winning a Sam’s Club $500 gift card.
The Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce appreciates the following sponsors that have helped to make this year’s program a success: Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Maple Leaf Farms, Paragon Medical, The Auto Park, Wildman Business Group, Splendor Boats, Timberlane Ventures.