Business & Finance

Press Releases

Middle and High School Students to Pitch to Local Investors


On Wednesday, March 29, 2017 student entrepreneurs will take the stage to present their business plans before a panel of local leaders of industry and a public audience.  The program will be held at The Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton Street, Rahway, NJ beginning at 6 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.

16 rising stars, ages 12-18. representing 9 businesses and social movements from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) will have five minutes to pitch their business plans to prominent local members of the business community, during the program’s annual YEA! Investor Panel Event “Shark Tank” style.  Based on the appeal and merit of the students’ plans and presentations, representatives from companies such as PNC Bank, Imagine That!, Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, The Optimist Club, GSS, Inc., Sign-A-Rama, The Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Drake Consulting Group, LLC and Flexēbo will determine the amount of funds to allocate to each business or social movement.

The investors will also select one business to advance to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars Competition, where they will compete with students across the United States for college scholarships and business start-up prize packages.  Winners of the semi-finals competition will advance to the finals in Washington, DC.

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The Investor Panel will be comprised of prominent local business people, including:

Maria Fuentes, President, Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce

Robert Anderson, Esq., Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper

Maria Halkias, PNC Bank

Marc Epstein, The Optimist Club

Raymond E. Ambrosino, CFP®, GSS, Inc.

Tony D’Amato, Imagine That! A Children’s Museum

Christopher S. Drake, CLU, CAP, Drake Consulting Group, LLC

Kamal Assad – Sign-A-Rama

Naomi Floy – Flexēbo

Camden Beinhaker, Flexēbo


The Young Entrepreneurs Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 501(C) 3 offering groundbreaking year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors for startup funds, and launch and run their own, fully formed companies and social movements. The project-based program empowers students to take charge of their futures.

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! today serves thousands of students nationwide. In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today's youth and tomorrow's future leaders.

YEA! bridges the business and educational communities to fulfill its mission of teaching more students how to make a job, not just take a job. YEA! is made possible by The Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. For more information, visit

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. 

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club®, a division of Walmart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), is a leading membership warehouse club offering savings and services to millions of members in 651 clubs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Sam’s Club offers affordable access to innovative services for families and small business owner, including travel, payroll and HR services, protection plans, legal solutions, cash rewards and more. To learn more about time and money with Sam’s Club visit


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