A live “Shark Tank-style” event where students get funding to launch enterprises
Student entrepreneurs from various Staten Island high schools will take the stage at Staten Island Technical High School Auditorium at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2019 to present their business plans before a panel of local business leaders and a public audience. The students representing their businesses participate in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), an annual extracurricular program sponsored by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Each business owner 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 (think Shark Tank meets The Apprentice meets American Idol). Based on the appeal and merit of the students’ plans and presentations, the company representatives will determine the amount of funds to allocate to each business.

The following high school students will be presenting: Elizabeth Akindeko, Curtis High School; Esther Bilenkin, New Dorp High School; Aleksandra Chechkina, Staten Island Technical High School; Valerie Chen, Staten Island Technical High School; Matthew Geary, St. Joseph by the Sea High School; Anya Hacene, Curtis High School; Jacob Joe, Susan E. Wagner High School; Andrei Klepatch, Staten Island Technical High School; Jessica Krikunov, Staten Island Technical High School; Aiden Lublinsky, Staten Island Technical High School; Sierra Molino, Curtis High School; Tishaun Singleton, Curtis High School;
Ryan Sliger, Staten Island Technical High School; Nicholas Stoll, Curtis High School; Tanayah Thomas, Curtis High School; Stacey Tuller, Staten Island Technical High School; Ellie Vaserman, Staten Island Technical High School; and Selina Zheng, Staten Island Technical High School

The participating investors will also select one business that will advance to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars National College Scholarship competition. The top young entrepreneurs from each YEA! class across the nation compete for college scholarships and prizes at the prestigious Saunders Scholars Competition each year.
The event is free and open to the public. Interviews with young entrepreneurs or members of the judging panel can be arranged. The emcee for the evening will be Edward Burke, Deputy Borough President.

New York State Senator, Andrew J Lanza supported the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 2018-19 YEA! curriculum and was extremely beneficial to all the students who participated.

Program Supporters:
The Investor Panel will be comprised of prominent local business people, including:
Dean Balsamini, Director, Small Business Development Center @ CSI; Ralph Branca, President and CEO, Victory State Bank; Katia Gordon, Director SI Regional & Community Affairs, Con Edison; Phil Guarnieri, Chief Executive Officer, Empire State Bank; Elizabeth Segal, Executive Director—NYC External Affairs, AT&T; and Frank Wilkinson, Chairman, Rab Wilkinson Foundation, Owner of Rab’s Country Lanes

Presenting Sponsor:

Con Edison is the presenting sponsor of the innovative program that transforms local high school students into real entrepreneurial successes.
“Con Edison is proud to be the lead sponsor of this important educational program,” said Katia Gordon, Con Edison’s Staten Island Regional & Community Affairs Manager. “The YEA! program evokes the spirit of entrepreneurship and introduces youth to skills they can use for their entire lives. Our support is an investment in our community’s future leaders, and we look forward to them presenting on Wednesday, March 20.”

Scholarship Sponsors:
Lions Pride Leadership; Rab’s Country Lanes; and Wealth and Legacy Group

Investor Panel Sponsors:
AT&T; Cee Jay Real Estate Development Corp.; Empire State Bank; National Grid; Small Business Development Center @ CSI; and Victory State Bank
Staten Island Technical High School is located at 485 Clawson Street, Staten Island NY.

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About YEA! Started at the University of Rochester in 2004, YEA! began as a weekly class, taught on the university campus, and has since expanded to more than 100 communities across 38 states. Throughout the year, students learn to generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch and run their own businesses or social movements.


Joyce Suss
718-727-1900 – office