By Juliette Smith
The typical entrepreneur is not a high school student, but this year, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy has filled WHS halls with many young hopefuls.
According to yeausa.org, YEA! is a year-long program in which students create business plans and pitch them to a panel of investors, becoming student entrepreneurs.
According to program facilitator Mr. Mitch Beinhaker, the program culminated in a March presentation in front of the New Jersey Investor Panel, with students competing for investments. Two WHS companies, Leaf Relievers and Inteenships, placed first and second, respectively. Leaf Relievers then advanced to a national competition in April at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Leaf Relievers, created by junior Eli Wirtshafter, provides a lawn tarp that aids in the collection of leaves. According to Wirtshafter, the panel granted him $1,265 to meet the high demand for his product. Said Wirtshafter, “My tarp has two weighted rubber ramp-like edges and a drawstring that makes it easier to pull.
The runner-up, Inteenships, organizes and sorts the resumés of teenagers to send to employers, according to Chief Technology Officer and Academy of Information Technology sophomore Ben Friedman. Said Friedman, “[YEA!] showed me the risks of being an entrepreneur and worries one has about his or her business.” The Inteenship team included Friedman and WHS students sophomore Matt Carminio, as chief marketing officer, and senior Evan Garfinkel, as chief financial officer.
YEA! guided students through a real-life entrepreneurial experience. Said Garfinkel, “Rather than simply studying economic theory or the financial markets, we were actually able to develop something unique.”
According to Beinhaker, the program will begin again next September, and he said he hopes to foster more young entrepreneurs.
Leaf Relievers will be available for purchase this summer and Inteenships is in the prototype phase.