Investing in the Future

Next Gen CEOs

Imagine some of the top CEOs from around the city gathering in one room. The catch? They’re all middle and high school students! The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel Pitch Competition brought together some of the most talented and innovative young minds in Frisco for an unforgettable night of business pitches. From a doll clothing line using donated material scraps to an energy-tracking app, these student CEOs proved that age is just a number when it comes to entrepreneurship.

More Than Just an Idea!

The student-CEOs pitched their business ideas to a panel of investors hoping to win a portion of the $8,000 in available funding and the opportunity to compete at the national level for additional funding and scholarship opportunities. The four-minute presentations included more than the ideation of a business. The students came prepared, having done market research, a SWOT analysis, and groudwork on financial strategy and scalability. 

Top Entrepreneurs in Frisco

It was impressive to see how these young entrepreneurs had developed their ideas, and their passion for their businesses was contagious.

The panel had difficult decisions to make, as all of the businesses were impressive and had the potential for success. The overall winner was also awarded the opportunity to compete in the YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition in Rochester, NY, where they will compete against the top student businesses from each YEA! chapters around the country, vying for scholarship dollars and business start-up prize packages.

Top prize and an award of over $2,000 went to 7th grader, Siddarth Nandyala for his company, STEM IT, which creates and sells STEM kits. The runner-up, Jace Mehta, a sophmore, created a business named SHIPEZ, inspired by his mother’s need to ship items to his brother in college quickly and affordably.

Overall, the YEA! Investor Panel and Pitch Competition was a fun and inspiring event that showcased the talent and creativity of the young entrepreneurs in Frisco. It was clear that these students had put a lot of effort and thought into their businesses, and it was exciting to see them take their first steps toward becoming successful entrepreneurs. Congratulations to all of the participants, and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish in the future!

Our Investors and Judges

The investor panel consisted of business professionals from the Frisco community, including:

  • Nikki Mouton, Ph.D., Executive Director, Continuous Improvement at Frisco ISD
  • Charles Dillahunt, Strategic Adjunct to Executives at PGA of America
  • Gloria Salinas, Vice President at the Frisco Economic Corporation
  • Stephanie Gallagher, CEO of SCOPE and last year’s YEA! Frisco Pitch Competition winner
  • Sanaji Silla, CEO of SCOPE and last year’s YEA! Frisco Pitch Competition winner
  • Chris Jamison, Community Bank President at First United Bank
  • Chris Ross, Investor/CEO Eight Digit Media

Fun Fact: Sanaji and Stephanie went on to place 2nd in the nation at the Saunders Scholars Competition in 2022.

More About YEA! Frisco

The Frisco Young Entrepreneurs Academy program is a nine-month program that teaches students the importance of social and business entrepreneurship and guides them through the process of starting a real business. YEA! Frisco is volunteer-run by leaders in the business community. Applications for the 2023-2024 school year are now being accepted. The YEA! Frisco program is part of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Frisco Economic Development Corporation and Frisco ISD.

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