MANSFIELD -- On Saturday, Oct. 17, teens from around the country will compete to see who will be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) 12th annual Saunders Scholars National Competition.
The Shark Tank style pitch competition will award over $80,000 in cash prizes and college scholarships to the Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology to the students with the best businesses in the U.S. Local viewers will be able to cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award.
This year 36 semifinalists will compete virtually representing 35 middle and high schools from 20 states across the country for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and a People’s Choice Award. For the first time ever, the competition will be live broadcast from Rochester, NY ABC-TV WHAM Channel 13 and will be streamed live over the web and able to be seen worldwide on YEA!’s YouTube channel and on Facebook live.
Students enrolled in the YEA! program first competed locally in front of an investor panel in early 2020. The top business from each YEA! chapter across the country will now compete head to head in semi-final and final rounds at the Saunders Scholars National Competition to take place throughout the day on Saturday, Oct. 17. from noon until 8 p.m., with the national winner announcements at 7:55 p.m.
The local semi-finalist, eighth grader Madison Running of Temple Christian School has been selected by local judges to advance to the National Competition for her start-up business, CoolRim.
Running participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy seven-month youth entrepreneurship program presented by and in partnership with the Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development and the Mansfield-Richland Area Educational Foundation. With the help of local entrepreneurs and business leaders, the student designed, pitched, and launched CoolRim, a silicone liner in the shape of a ring that is placed around the rim of a pot. It acts as a shield, keeping the surface cool and preventing burns.
“This program really helped me grow as an entrepreneur and as a person! I really started coming out of my shell this year and was able to speak up and communicate better. It's definitely set me on the right path for success!” shared Running.
The local student will be pitching via YouTube live on Panel 1, scheduled to run from noon to 1:30 p.m., local time. Viewers must register in advance at yeausa.org to participate in the text-to-vote People’s Choice Award.
This year’s Saunders Scholars National Competition is sponsored in part by the E. Philp Saunders Foundation, Southwest Airlines, and the Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
“We could not be more proud of the work these young people are doing and of our partners who are leading the charge across the Country delivering YEA!’s entrepreneurship education,” said YEA! founder and CEO, Gayle Jagel. Our local Chambers of Commerce, incubators, accelerators, universities, colleges and K12 partners who come together through YEA! are igniting the sparks of innovation in the entire community. Just imagine what our world would look like if every student got the chance to bring their ideas to life.”
YEA! Richland is currently accepting applications for the class of 2021. If you are interested in taking part in the upcoming class, please complete an application at yeausa.org by Oct. 19. All questions about the program can be directed to Program Manager, Nikki Lewis, at the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development.