published on March 23, 2016 - 10:44 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Students from Visalia’s Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA!) recently pitched their business ideas to potential investors as part of the group’s Investor Panel Event. 

Based on the appeal and merit of the students’ plans and presentations, representatives from companies like Suncrest Bank, Sterling & Smith Funeral Home and USA Printing determined the amount of start-up funds to allocate to each business. In total, eight junior high and high school students presented six businesses. 

The list of student businesses and funding they received is as follows:

• Carmen Gallegos was awarded $1,100 for VEPO

• Mary Vinzon and Jude Grijalva were awarded $700 for Fruit Frenzy

• Ambar Melendez was awarded $525 for Chocolate Wonders

• Miguel Treo was awarded $525 for MTS Soaps

• Robert Perry was awarded $500 for Classic Cup

• Jad and Alex Gerges were awarded $350 for Gerges Referral Service

In addition to the startup funding, USA Printing & Graphics awarded students six prize packages with business cards and other promotional items. 

Gallegos’ VEPO was named the first place winner and will move onto the 2016 Saunders Scholars Semi Finals Competition in Rochester, New York in May. There she will compete against 100 student businesses from across the country and compete for thousands of dollars in college scholarships.

Participating students are expected to launch their new businesses at the 2016 Visalia Chamber of Commerce Business Member Appreciation event later this spring. 

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