Young entrepreneurs get some professional help

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

LAPLACE – The students of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy put it all on the line to make their big business pitches during last Thursday’s Investor Panel event at John L. Ory Magnet School.
The student CEOs outlined their potential business models in front of a panel of potential investors from DOW, First American Bank, Louisiana Federal Credit Union, Echo Ventures, Entergy and Valero in six-minute presentations. Some students even offered samples of their work.
The students presented information such as explanation of the purpose of their business, an examination of potential customer bases, competition and the advantages of using their business and monthly sales projections.
The panel of investors was allowed to ask questions at the end of each presentation. They then convened to decide how much each student would receive toward start-up costs.
“Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve been writing business plans, doing their financials, figuring out what their business will cost to launch and what they need to start that business. Then they decided how much they’re going to personally invest and how much their friends and relatives will invest — the balance is what they’re asking the investors for tonight,” said Buddy Boe, the YEA program manager and instructor.
The panel awarded more than $3,900 to the students to go toward their businesses.
The panel also made one other important decision besides the distribution of funding — Boe said the investors would also choose one student to represent the local chapter of YEA in Rochester, N.Y., at the national YEA competition.
At the Rochester contest the chosen student will compete against 40 other students for the chance to travel to Washington, D.C., and participate in the National Small Business Summit. Travel fare will be paid for the winner and his or her guardian.
Judy Chen, a student from East St. John High, was the winner of this pretigious honor.
Chen’s company, PB&C, which stand for Peanut Butter and Chocolate, will help consumers feel less guilty about satisfying junk food cravings by providing an all-natural, locally-sourced take on a melted down Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.