Local Young Entrepreneurs Obtain Funding to Launch 13 Companies

May 5, 2014

Local Young Entrepreneurs Obtain Funding to Launch 13 Companies

Bellevue, WA – 22 middle and high school students from the Bellevue area pitched their business ideas before a panel of five real-life investors to compete for funding at the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce First Annual Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel Pitch Event held at the Bellevue School District Wilburton Instructional Service Center on May 1. 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!

This year’s YEA! class is comprised of Bellevue School District students in the 6th to 12th grades. The Investor Panel Event is one of the program’s three public events that take place over the duration of the program. On Thursday night, the Investor Panel awarded monetary contributions through the Bellevue Chamber Foundation and in-kind donations, as well as their support and encouragement in their belief that they too can make a job- not take a job- at any age!­­

The Investor Panel consisted of the following business leaders:

Chris Falco, Falco Sult
Tanya Fraioli, ARC Document Solutions
Ron Smith, Array Acquisitions LLC
George Capestany, Axelerate
Dan Duke, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management

“What a talented group of young entrepreneurs. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy clearly gave them all the skills to formulate their ideas through a business plan and then present them to the invent community,” said Investor Panelist Ron Smith, Managing Director, Array Acquisitions LLC. “As someone who has literally seen and reviewed hundreds of business plans and investment opportunities, I have no doubt these kids will be successful with the skills they attained from YEA!”

The Investor Panel awarded a total of $8,000 to the following 13 companies that are being started by Bellevue Chamber Inaugural Young Entrepreneurs Academy students:

Brute Jute, an eco-friendly company that creates reusable grocery bags made from jute, started by Alex Erling, a 7th grader at Bellevue Big Picture School.

B.W. Gluten Free, a website that offers information and resources for gluten free adults and their children, started by Pharon Douwes, a 7th grader at Bellevue Big Picture School.
CoSea Cup, an eco-friendly company that creates reusable hot beverage cozies with unique designs, started by Maya Srikanth and Evelyn Chen, both 6th graders at Odle Middle School.
Cre-X-Labs, a company that produces a quarterly online magazine written and read by the Bellevue youth arts community, started by Jessica Lee, a Junior at Newport High School.
Dot Cosmetics, a company which brings lip balm and lip scrub into one product, started by Nicole Wen a Sophomore at Bellevue Big Picture School, Manoj Simha, an 8th grader at Odle Middle School, Jessica Jiang a Sophomore at Interlake High School, and Richard Chai, a Freshman at Newport High School.
Elán Photography, an event photography service in the classic photo booth style, but without the limitations of a traditional photo booth, started by Miranda Bumstead, a Sophomore at Newport High School.
Encased Supplies, a company that makes a unique school supplies case, started by Nick Magill, a Junior at Bellevue High School, Eric Kline a 7th grader at Bellevue Big Picture School, and Chandra Pandian, an 8th grader at Bellevue Big Picture School.
Fresh Steps, a company that looks to pioneer the EcoBoard, a tile that will harness the energy from footsteps and convert it into usable electricity, started by Amrita Ram, a Junior at Newport High School.

Insciphus, a company that designs and markets modular stainless steel bottles, started by Nathaniel Li, a Sophomore at Bellevue High School.
The Lunchbox Express, a delivery service that offers healthy, vegetarian lunches to kids at school, started by Saijel Verma, 8th grader at Odle Middle School.

SharingAway, a website that helps neighbors and friends donate usable items, started by Neil Kagalwala, an 8th grader at Odle Middle School and Jawahar Madan, a Freshman at Interlake High School.

Suzillo Designer Backpacks, a company that makes lighter and more comfortable and fashionable backpacks, started by Suzy Mahlman and Logan Richards, both 6th graders Tillicum Middle School.

Wuddabox, a company that makes a children’s traveling kit packed in a reusable container, started by Celine Shaw, a Sophomore at Interlake High School and Jia Wen Chan, a Senior at Interlake High School.
Students will now begin marketing and selling their products and services, and preparing for the Bellevue Chamber Business Showcase where they will showcase their products and services to the general public and participate in business to business networking . The Business Showcase will be held on Wednesday, June 4 from 4:00-7:00pm at the Bellevue Downtown Courtyard by Marriott, 11010 NE 8th Street, Bellevue. This event is open to the public – for more information and to register visit www.bellevuechamber.org.

ABOUT YEA!™: 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.

This immediately sparked my interest, and I applied to the program.
In a brief interview, my passion and determination worked their magic.  The opportunity to begin a business became a reality. I was accepted. 
Thus began my interest to build a business of my own and to journey along that learning path. I began YEA without any idea of what my business was going to be. After some time and brainstorming, I ultimately figured it out. 
At that time I was becoming increasingly aware of our world’s numerous environmental problems. One of those major problems can be explained in one word, plastic. 
I would read articles everywhere about pollution and it disturbed me. I was brought up in a family that always believed in taking care of the environment, doing our part, staying healthy. 
One thing we did was cut out all of the unnecessary plastic and things that pollute the environment. Whenever we went out shopping we never used plastic bags, always reusable. Primarily we used jute bags, and that was how it all started. 
I was then motivated to build a business that could sell stylish awesome bags, helping the environment. Could it perhaps even pay for my college? What could be better? 
But I was still far from being finished. 
Time has passed. I am entering college and I decided it was time to revamp my website, change-up my model a little bit, and acquire more knowledge than I ever could as a middle school kid. 
Join me in my mission to render all plastic shopping bags useless! 
Help your earth while helping a college student! 
And for the world’s and your own sake, treat yourself to the best bag in the world. Everyone deserves it! 
Stay Tuned for more! 
Join my mailing list here for any upcoming updates, deals, changes or just to know more about me! 
Go Brute Jute!


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