The Loudoun Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy Class of 2022 held its sixth Annual Investor Panel on March 24, where 22 student entrepreneurs pitched their businesses and nonprofit startups to a panel of investors with $5,000 up for grabs.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy or YEA! Loudoun is a seven-month program that teaches area middle and high school students how to develop, pitch and launch their very own small business, presented by the Loudoun Chamber Foundation and the Loudoun Economic Development Authority.
The entrepreneurs competed in a “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition for a piece of $5,000 in investment capital and the chance to represent Loudoun at the YEA! National Saunders Scholars Competition on June 4.
First place and the $1,500 prize went toWilliam Just and Loudoun Candle. Marketed as LoCA, Just’s company produces candles that have a connection to Loudoun.
“Our Young Entrepreneurs worked very hard to develop their raw ideas into real, investment-worthy small businesses and nonprofits,” Loudoun Chamber President Tony Howard said. “They learned valuable skills about every area of entrepreneurship, including pitching their business plans to investors. These skills will serve them well, regardless of where their future education and career paths take them.”
Praggy Sangeetham and Priyanka Thaker won $1,000 for P Squared, which seeking to produce a safety attachment device. Another $1,000 went to Reem Khalil, whose TaVue is creating healthy skincare with chemical-free rose water.
Logan McMillon won $500 for HydroDripz, selling customized hydro-dipped gaming accessories. Michael Tiger Combest won $500 for Happy Cone Sno Ball Shop, selling self-serve New Orleans-style sno-cones. And Samhita Kotamraju took $500 for VizMe, a visualization software to eliminate the “one image for all sizes” concept in e-commerce clothing stores.
This year’s YEA! Investor Panelists were Alice Frazier of BCT-The Community’s Bank and the Loudoun Economic Development Authority, Loudoun Economic Development Authority Chairman Bernard Mustafa of WB20, Jack Vega of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, Jeff Webster from PNC Bank, Valerie Sayd from SeKON, Larry Melton from The Building People, and Scott Loftis from Wells Fargo.
Applications are open for the Class of 2023. More information is online at LoudounChamber.org/YEA.