River Parishes’ young entrepreneurs ready their pitches

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015

LAPLACE — It won’t be Shark Tank for the River Parishes’ young entrepreneurs, but it might not be far away.

The public is invited to watch student entrepreneurs take the stage at 6 p.m. April 21 at John L. Ory Magnet School as they present their business plans before a panel of local leaders of industry.

Eight students in grades sixth through 12th representing eight businesses and social movements from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) will have six minutes to pitch their business plans to prominent local members of the business community, during the program’s annual YEA! Investor Panel Event.

Organizers describe it as a cross between Shark Tank, The Apprentice and American Idol.

Representatives from investor companies will determine the amount of funds to allocate to each business or social movement based on the appeal and merit of the students’ presentations.

The participating investors will also select the one business group that will advance to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars National College Scholarship competition, where they will compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars in college scholarships, a fast-track application pass to apply to be on ABC’s Shark Tank and an all-expenses paid trip to attend America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, courtesy of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

The event is free to attend and open to the public.

Buddy Boe, YEA! Instructor and Invictus Solutions CEO, will emcee the event.

The Investor Panel includes Steve Sawyer of Cox Communications, Kerry Jones of Entergy, Conley Dutreix of First American Bank, Rene Ockman, of International Matex Tank Terminals, Tyler Williamson of Marathon Petroleum, Kevin Hebert of St. Charles Printing and Matt, Lundy of Rewarding Events and Incentives.