Young titans of industry; musical dessert boxes highlight of entrepreneurs

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, May 27, 2014

By Monique Roth

Mariah Brown envisions sweet sounds and sweet tastes working hand in hand.

The junior from Hahnville High School is the founder of Sweets With Sounds, which manufactures unique dessert gift boxes that play music when you open them.

She plans to sell the boxes to bakeries and individual customers.

Musical birthday cards inspired her product, Brown said, adding she is working on getting her product patented.

Brown is a graduate of the 2013-2014 River Region Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!).

Her graduation was Thursday, but Brown and her fellow graduates were already in full business mode thanks to a trade show held at John L. Ory Elementary School prior to the ceremonies.

YEA! guides students between the ages of 11 and 18 through starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year.

The young CEOs pitched their business plans at an Investor Panel in March, and Brown was chosen by the panel to compete in a regional competition earlier this month in Frisco, Texas.

She said the regional competition was a great experience, and even though she didn’t move on to the national competition, she was happy she had the experience.

“What was impressive was how Mariah kept her cool and showed a lot of confidence at her regional presentation,” said Annette Wray, YEA! program manager. “She put on one of the best presentation she’s ever had.”

Businesses celebrated ranged from pencil dispensers and personal robots to personalized T-shirts and aerobic videos, along with a couple of bakeries.

Buddy Boe, who served as the master of ceremonies at Thursday’s graduation, said the YEA! students have “taken advantage of a very rare opportunity to take an idea of a business and go through the learning and action steps to start that business.”

Wray congratulated the students on their accomplishments in the program.

“You were born to succeed and not fail,” Wray said, addressing the students.

The YEA! graduates of 2013-14 include Jacqueline Beisel, of Beisel’s Bakery; Mariah Brown, of Sweets With Sounds; Julian Charron, of Robots For Homes; Breanna Epperly, of Pencils On Demand; Nigel Frere, of Flavor Flares; Jude Guidry, of Guidry’s Taxidermy; Malik Johnson, of Malik’s Lawn Care; Kia Lewis, of Fit Your Frame; Mia Meyer, of Inspired By U T-shirts; Dyhn McKinley, of Kids Dance With DeeDee Aerobic Exercise; and Madeleine Millet, of MaddieCakes.

Any student interested in participating in YEA! should contact the River Region Chamber of Commerce office at 985-359-9777.

Businesses, no matter the size, interested in sponsoring the class or participating in any way are also welcomed.