Michael Thacker, Tippecanoe Valley High School senior, who won first prize in a local Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Investors’ Panel in March, was chosen to participate in a national Y.E.A. competition in New York with his business “Invictus Photography.”
He will be leaving Thursday, May 7, to attend a kick-off reception followed by a welcome dinner. Friday’s events will include a business field trip, the competition, celebration and awards dinner. He will return home in time for the school prom, Saturday, May 8.
Y.E.A., a Kosciusko Chamber initiative, 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.
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.