Student entrepreneurs pitched their startup businesses to a panel of investors on March 20 thanks to a program put on by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce.

Seventeen sixth- through twelfth-grade students participated in a 24-week intensive hands-on business course called the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA), a program run by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, and pitched sixteen companies to the panel.

The academy takes students in grades 6-12 through the process of starting and running a real business over the course of a full academic year. Students work closely with local leaders of industry, community members, and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch to potential investors, obtain funding, register with government agencies, develop a brand identity, and more.

This year’s cohort is the sixth graduating class; 83 companies have launched through the program. The students will attend the YEA! Student Business Trade Show and Graduation from 4-5:30 p.m. May 15 at the Bellevue Chamber offices located at 330 112th Ave. NE, Suite 100, in Bellevue.

A panel of judges made up of investors awarded $4,100 to the companies to help with their startup costs through the Bellevue Chamber Foundation.

“The students were so creative and passionate about their work,” said Siti Mohamed, relationship banking officer for Columbia Bank, one of the event’s sponsors, in a prepared statement. “I truly enjoyed being one of the judges of the investor panel of the YEA.”

The investor panel selected Nir Pechuk, CEO of Extentek — a company aiming to offer a contactless material level indication device to help people who are blind or visually impaired pour any substance into a container without over-pouring — to represent Bellevue and advance to the 11th annual YEA! Saunders Scholars National Sem-Finals College Scholarship competition May 3 in Rochester, New York.

Pechuk, who attends Redmond Middle School, said he was inspired by the desire to help his grandma, who is visually impaired.

The other companies included:

  • AcsuTech (Accessibility Support Technologies), a sole proprietorship that creates products for people caring for their disabled elderly family members.
  • Arts4Assistance, a nonprofit organization that raises money for families in need of help with their medical bills for their children.
  • Creative Testing, a business that offers “real” feedback from social media savvy kids who provide their raw opinions.
  • Dolphin, an app that will help elderly people connect with each other through geographical location.
  • Hortus, a company that builds smart gardens for gardening lovers and gardening amateurs.
  • Kool Kar Seat, a company that aims to save the lives of children accidentally left in the car on a hot day.
  • Live and Learn Pictures, a company that creates highly personalized, educational stop-motion animation videos designed to help children be more engaged in learning.
  • Orient, an online platform for coaches and athletes to interact, perform transactions, share videos and photos, and send important information to each other.
  • Project Cardia, a nonprofit organization that gives healthcare to those in need in the rural parts of India and plans to expand to help people cope with heart disease.
  • Road Caution, a company that creates and manages an app to get the attention of traffic drivers and get them to stop for children crossing the street.
  • Sicurezza, a company that works to increase the quality of life for visually impaired people by making it easier for them to navigate crowded areas.
  • Taggpet, a social network and service for pets and pet owners.
  • Trace of Ginseng, a company that offers ginseng as an herbal tea and an alternative to coffee.
  • TypeShield, a company that creates silicone keyboard mats that are designed to relieve stress from the fingers of those that use their computer daily.
  • Vestis Outfits, an online service that assists people in choosing different outfits and styles.





Featured photo courtesy of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce