The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a nine-month program of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce that guides middle school and high school students through the process of starting a real business. YEA! Frisco teaches students not only the importance of social and business entrepreneurship, but also the process by which one establishes a business enterprise or social movement. On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 24 student CEOs presented pitches to an investor panel, in hopes of obtaining a portion of the $8,160 in funding available. The investor panel included Stefanie Wagoner, Director of Business Retention & Expansion, Frisco Economic Corporation; Krista Wadsworth, Community Impact Newspaper; Larry Harris, Director of Asset Management, Hall Financial Group; Bethani DeMaria, a senior at Frisco High School, CEO of Necessitation and last year’s YEA! Investor Panel winner; and Ron Corcoran, Senior Vice President of Lending, Texas Republic Bank. Brett Larson, Prudential Advisors, served as emcee for the evening. All businesses were awarded funding based on their request and the decision of the panel with the overall winner being awarded the opportunity to compete in The YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition. This competition brings together the top student businesses from each YEA! class around the country to compete to win scholarship dollars and business start-up prize packages. This year’s local competition winner, Gouzia Sivarajah, CEO and founder of SIINNO and a freshman at Heritage High School, received $1,644 in funding, and will advance to the regional competition in Rochester, NY. SIINNO is an LLC in the Safety and Technology Industry, dedicated towards creating technological devices that can help blind and visually impaired individuals travel safely. To learn more about the program and the investor panel event,read coverage in the Frisco Enterprise newspaper.
Tony Felker serves as President/CEO of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce. A seventeen-year veteran of the chamber of commerce industry, Tony received his IOM designation from West Institute in 2009 and completed and received his CCE designation in 2014. During his eleven-year tenure as President/CEO. Tony is active within the chamber industry as well as serving in leadership positions in the local and regional community. Tony earned a Bachelor of Business in Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Bachelor of Journalism and is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute. When not working, Tony enjoys mowing his lawn and traveling. His goal is to climb the high point, golf, and visit a brewery in each of the 50 states!