Curtis High School’s Emilee Jospey wants to see your smile. So she invented something that’ll allow just that — M Tech ClearSmiles.
Emily’s part of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Young Entrepreneurs Academy(YEA!)
During a virtual event student entrepreneurs from Staten Island high schools took the stage for the annual YEA! Investor Panel to present their business plans before a panel of local business leaders and a public audience.
Emily’s company produces face masks with clear windows, allowing the wearer’s expression to display through the mask.
The product was developed prior to COVID-19 and was intended for customers with autism. But in today’s world, the product is in demand more than ever. The investors also awarded Emily $1,200 in funding.
In an event streamed live across YouTube, Facebook, and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce’s website, each business owner had five minutes to pitch their business plans to prominent local members of the business community — just think Shark Tank meets The Apprentice meets American Idol.
Based on the appeal and merit of the students’ plans and presentations, the company representatives determined the amount of funds to allocate to each business. The event can be viewed in its entirety here.
Con Edison was the presenting sponsor of the innovative program that transforms local high school students into real entrepreneurial successes.
“We are proud to be the lead sponsor of this important educational program that is designed to help students tap into their entrepreneurial spirit,” said Katia Gordon, Con Edison’s Director of Staten Island Regional & Community Affairs. “Each participant made a commitment to remain focused and worked hard through the pandemic. For this, we’re truly excited to see the type of business ideas they came up with.”
The following high school students presented: Nicholas DiMeglio, Staten Island Technical High School; Carolyn Ellis, Curtis High School; Emilee Jospey, Curtis High School; Joseph Masica, Staten Island Technical High School; Kamilla Rovshanbekova, New Dorp High School; Arshmeet Sodhi, Staten Island Technical High School; and Mark Zbarsky, Staten Island Technical High School.
The participating investors also selected one business that will advance to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars National College Scholarship competition. The prestigious Saunders Competition, which will be held virtually Aug. 29, will gather the top young entrepreneurs from each YEA! class across the nation compete for college scholarships and prizes.
The evening’s emcee was Brian Licata, membership retention manager at the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and YEA! Instructor.
The event was produced by Gotham Trinity Productions and was powered by Tekie Geek.
Program Supporter was Verizon.
The Investor Panel was comprised of local business people that included: Dean Balsamini, director, Small Business Development Center at CSI; Tavonia Davis, regional director of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Verizon; Carol Decina, principal account manager of Customer & Community Relations at National Grid; Dr. Charley Ferrer, CEO and founder of the Cancer Tamer Foundation and member of the Mid Island Rotary; Laurie Giunta, vice president, branch manager of Grasmere Branch at Northfield Bank; Danielle Reyes, founder of Wealth and Legacy Group, I Am Empowering, and Lions Pride Leadership; and Frank Wilkinson, chairman, Rab Wilkinson Foundation, owner of Rab’s Country Lanes.
Scholarship Sponsors: I Am Empowering and the Rab Wilkinson Foundation.
Investor Panel Sponsors: Con Edison, I Am Empowering, Lions Pride Leadership, Mid Island Rotary, National Grid, Rab’s Country Lanes, the Small Business Development Center at CSI, Verizon, and Wealth & Legacy Group.
YEA! began at the University of Rochester in 2004 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.