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Bellevue Chamber News & Happenings: Bellevue Chamber News

Local Young Entrepreneurs Obtain Funding to Launch 12 Companies; Interlake HS Student Advances

Friday, April 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ashley Clemmer
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April 21, 2017
Contact: Sara Garner, 425.213.1204


Local Young Entrepreneurs Obtain Funding to Launch 12 Companies; Interlake High School Student Advances to Compete in National Semi-Finals

 Photo courtesy of Evelyn Hou, Bellevue Embroidery
Bellevue, WA - 14 middle and high school students from the Eastside pitched their business ideas before a panel of real-life investors to compete for funding at the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel Pitch Event on April 19. The students presented before business leaders from area companies as well as an audience filled with family, friends and members of the community, for the opportunity to gain funding for their original ideas that could be the next big thing.
The 2017 YEA! class is comprised of 6th to 12th graders. The Investor Panel Event is one of the program’s three public events that take place over the duration of the program. The Investor Panel awarded monetary contributions through the Bellevue Chamber Foundation (to make a tax deductible contribution visit with support from Legacy Champion Columbia Bank and Corporate Sponsor KeyBank. The Bellevue School District is our Academy Partner.

The Investor Panel awarded a total of $2700 to 12 companies that are being started by the 2017 Bellevue Chamber Young Entrepreneurs Academy students. The Investor Panel selected Zitao Li, a 9th grader at Interlake High School and CEO of Roses and Rita to advance to the 9th Annual YEA! Saunders Scholars National Semi-Finals College Scholarship competition May 4-6 in Rochester, New York. Roses and Rita is a sole proprietorship that sells stylish apparel for teenagers online.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in grades six through twelve through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year. Students work in close cooperation with local leaders of industry, community members, and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity and much more! By the end of the class, students own and operate fully functioning businesses that can be carried on after graduation. Students learn to make a job--not just take a job! YEA!’s™ direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom.

The Bellevue Chamber serves as the voice of business on the Eastside, representing thousands of jobs in our community. Businesses range in size from sole proprietors to large corporations. The Chamber's mission is to foster a healthy business environment by providing strategic leadership, advocacy, tools, and resources for business success.


2017 Investor Panelists

Diane Najm, PhotoPad
Michael Nassirian, ARVR Studio
Ron Smith, Array Acquisitions LLC
Jimmy Ng, KeyBank
Meghana Subramanian, extraSlice

2017 YEA! Students & Student Startups

Pranav Pandiaraj is an 8th grader at Odle Middle School and Vishruth Raj is a 7th grader at Odle Middle School. AMinus will create easy-to-use AAA to AA battery adapters so customers will only have to buy AAA batteries.

Siddharth Shende is a freshman at Tesla STEM High School. EventDash is an easy-to-use website that helps users execute and plan events with little to no work while saving time and money in the process.

Oliver Wood is a junior at Bellevue College as part of Eastlake HS Running Start. EVO Audio manufactures and sells EVOs - bandless, fitted ear covers that are designed to keep a user’s earbuds in place.

Merrick Mar is a 5th grader at Endeavour Elementary School and Louis Kim Godbout is an 8th grader at Chinook Middle School. Food4U delivers food via bicycles to people from restaurants throughout the Klahanie (or other densely populated area).

Ansh Pandey is an 8th grader at Issaquah Middle School. Golden Hats underlying mission is to keep children safe by creating stylish hats that have a reflective material highly visible to drivers. 

Mansi Mishra is a 7th grader at Issaquah Middle School. JustZipIt is aiming to simplify your morning routine by designing a zip up bedding comforter that zips up on the side and can be made under 30 seconds.

Katerina Phillips is a 6th grader at Chinook Middle School. Natures Wishes creates partially recycled, fashionable bags that can be used for several purposes, as well as help teach about the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

Celine Oh is a sophomore at Bellevue High School. SharedPaw strives to give adoptable dogs a home via an interactive online dog-sharing service.

Joshua Wang is a 7th grader at Odle Middle School. TopNLocke produces supplementary bag tops for food bags that cannot be resealed. 

Leonard Dattilo is a 6th grader at Chinook Middle School. The Better Binder company will make and sell a superior binder with a convenient, unique design that helps middle schoolers everywhere.

Zitao Li is a freshman at Interlake High School. Roses and Rita sells stylish apparel for teenagers online through an aesthetically appealing and easy-to-use website design.

Stephan Chiorean is a junior at Bellevue High School. Stick N Go works to help identify waste as recyclable, compostable, or simply fit for the trash through the use of stickers. 

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