Two Ridgefield Academy Students Become Young Entrepreneurs Through YEA!

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), located in Rochester, NY, provides local middle and high school students an opportunity to become confident entrepreneurs. During the year-long program, students develop business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch a panel of investors, and eventually launch their very own companies.  To participate, students go through an interview process. This is exactly what two Ridgefield Academy students did… and both were accepted!

Grade 5 student, Ava Derby’s idea stemmed from her experience at the Russian School of Math where she takes enrichment classes on Saturdays.  Ava generated an idea called AIM: Advancing Inquisitive Minds to provide afterschool and/or weekend enrichment classes to K-12 students in the subjects of science, history, filmmaking and creative writing.  Ava enjoyed each of the steps on the way to developing this program, in particular the process of writing and laying out her business plan.

Luisa Simon, Grade 7, is passionate about eliminating the divisiveness in the world and creating a place where we all come together. She established My Threads, a t-shirt business with inspirational sayings of hope and positivity. Working with an artist, Luisa came up with a logo combining the words community with humanity that resulted in “Cumanitee”.  Her next steps are to develop a marketing strategy, create business cards and flyers, develop an online store, and attend vendor fairs. Her hope is that one day in the future everyone who owns one of her amazing t-shirts will wear it and, as a united group, spread her message of “Cumanitee”.  Luisa, also, loves the theater and wants to support the arts by donating a portion of her sales to ACT of CT, a program that provides underprivileged youth with the opportunity to participate in and see live theater.

On April 25, both students presented their formulated ideas to the YEA! investor panel. The investors listened to not only Ava and Luisa’s ideas, but to all student participants. The winning idea will go on to the National competition in Rochester to compete with student entrepreneurs from across the country.   We wish Ava and Luisa the best of luck in the coming weeks and congratulate them on a huge accomplishment thus far!


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