Young CEOs pitch ideas to investors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 2, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE – Businesses ranging lawn care services and personal robots to personalized T-shirts and aerobic videos, with a couple of bakeries in between, were pitched to potential investors at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Investor Panel Event held on March 27.

Twelve of the area’s youngest CEOs pitched their business plans at the panel, and student Mariah Brown was chosen by the Investor Panel to compete in a regional competition on May 8 and 9 in Frisco, Texas. Winners from regionals will go on to compete at a national competition in Washington, D.C.

The students who participated in the Investor Panel are students in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, an innovative program hosted by the River Region Chamber of Commerce that guides students between the ages of 11 and 18 through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year.

Brown, the CEO of Sweets With Sounds, created a company that manufactures boxes for bakeries to use that play music when you open them. She said she was very excited about having the opportunity to move on to the regional competition.

The investor panel asked the students questions about their businesses after students presented their ideas in a presentation that included  business plans, prototypes and financial projections. The panel then met in private to determine the amount of funding that each student would receive to help further launch their business.

The YEA! class of 2103-2014 includes students Jacqueline Beisel, CEO of Beisel’s Bakery; Mariah Brown, CEO of Sweets With Sounds; Julian Charron, CEO of Robots For Homes; Breanna Epperly, CEO of Pencils On Demand; Nigel Frere, CEO of Flavor Flares; Jude Guidry, CEO of Guidry’s Taxidermy; Malik Johnson, CEO of Malik’s Lawn Care; Kia Lewis, CEO of Fit Your Frame; Mia Meyer, CEO of Inspired By U T-shirts; Dyhn McKinley, CEO of Kids Dance With DeeDee Aerobic Exercise; and Madeleine Millet, CEO of MaddieCakes.

Millet said her experience with the academy so far has been was positive and that she was grateful to have met new friends through the experience. She said she was excited to have had the opportunity to get help in getting her ideas together and opening up her business.

The investor’s panel was comprised of Valero’s Director of Engineering Brent Stratton, First American Bank’s Senior Credit Administrative Officer Conley Dutreix, NALCO’s District Manager Ed Kuenz, DOW’s Public Affairs Manager Jordan Tremblay, President of St. Charles Printing Kevin Hebert and Director of Public Relations/Government Affairs Steve Sawyer.