Eastside student entrepreneurs were recently awarded a little seed money for their startups from the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an education program that takes students in grades sixth through 12 through the process of operating real businesses over the course of an academic year. They learn community relations, writing business plans, pitching ideas to investors, obtaining funding, and registering with government agencies. At the end of the year, each student has a business they can continue on their own.
Fourteen students with 12 companies pitched their ideas to a panelist of business leaders and were awarded a total of $2,700. One of the competitors, Zitao Li, a freshman from Interlake High School and CEO of Roses and Rita, impressed the judges with her online clothing store for teenagers. She was chosen to advance to the 9th Annual YEA! Saunders Scholars National Semi-Finalists College Scholarship competition May 4-6 in Rochester, New York.
The 12 companies are:
Pranav Pandiaraj, an eighth-grade student, and Vishruth Raj, a seventh-grade student, from Odle Middle School plan to create AMinus, a AAA to AA battery adapter so customers only have to buy AAA batteries.
Siddharth Shende, a freshman at Tesla STEM High School, created EventDASH, a time and money saving website that helps users plan events.
Oliver Wood, a junior at Bellevue College as part of the Eastlake High School running start program, pitched EVO Audio, a bandless, fitted ear cover that secures earbuds in place.
Merrick Mar, a fifth-grade student at Endeavour Elementary, and Louis Kim Godbout, an eighth-grade student at Chinook Middle School, designed Food4U, which delivers carry-out meals to people from restaurants throughout the Klahanie area.
Ansh Pandey, an eighth-grade student at Issaquah Middle School, designed Golden Hats, stylish hats with reflective material to make them more visible to drivers.
Mansi Mishra, a seventh-grade student at Issaquah Middle School, created JustZipIt, a comforter that zips up on the side of the bed for quick and easy bed-making.
Katerina Phillips, a sixth-grade student at Chinook Middle School, designed Natures Wishes, partially recycled, fashionable bags that aim to reduce waste.
Celine Oh, a sophomore at Bellevue High School, pitched SharedPaw, an interactive online dog-sharing service that gives adoptable dogs a home.
Joshua Wang, a seventh-grade student at Odle Middle School, created TopNLocke, bag tops for food bags that aren’t reseal-able.
Leonard Dattilo, a sixth-grade student at Chinook Middle School, designed The Better Binder, a binder with convenient designs made with middle school students in mind.
Zitao Li, a freshman at Interlake High School, created Roses and Rita, an easy-to-use and aesthetically appealing website selling apparel for teenagers.
Stephan Chiorean, a junior at Belleuve High School, came up with Stick N Go, stickers that help identify which items can be recycled, composted or put in the trash.