VALDOSTA —Passersby in the VSU Health Sciences & Business Administration building may have thought middle and high school students were preparing to take turns riding up and down the elevator — while in reality, these Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) students were perfecting their 30-second elevator pitches with the help of Lynne Brown, Executive Director of The John Maxwell Team.
Amanda Johnson, YEA! Program Manager and Lead Instructor proclaimed, “Ms. Brown was perfect for our YEA! students! She brought a high level of energy and was not afraid to give the students constructive, valuable feedback they can use within any professional environment.”
The 13 YEA! students, ages 11 to 18, are preparing for the upcoming YEA! Investor Panel Event to be held on March 22, 2018, where they will pitch their business plans to a panel of local business and community leaders for real startup funding, along with a chance to represent their class at the YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition, a regional business pitch competition.
As part of the pitch preparation, each student presented Brown the elevator speech he or she personally created for their business. Brown gave each student immediate feedback to help the student to practice their pitch. After all YEA! students gave their elevator pitches, Brown selected a winning Elevator Pitch.
The winner of the in-class exercise was Cedric L. Montgomery Jr, who is a junior at Lowndes High School and thriving member of the school’s FFA chapter. He briefly pitched his upcoming business, Bee The Change, which will operate as a bee farm and sell locally-produced honey. Cedric plans to donate 10% of his proceeds to the research of the honeybee colony collapse disorder.
“Cedric Montgomery painted a picture of his dream. His confidence was evident in his delivery,” stated Brown.
Cedric plans for his future customers to not only enjoy the sweet taste of honey but to “bee” the change to save the honeybee species.
“The this year’s class is now officially halfway complete, and the students have learned so much, with much more experience to gain over the next few months remaining,” said DeWayne Johnson, Program Director for YEA! Valdosta.
During the course of the 30-week young entrepreneur program provided by the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce, students collaborate with local business leaders, community leaders, and educators who use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to transform ideas into tangible businesses that create economic and social value. YEA! students are introduced to all facets of the business world including, advertising, insurance, graphic design and web development. This year’s class will launch 13 businesses in the community.
Recruitment for next year’s class is already in the works. Students and parents who are interested in the next YEA! academic year, which will kick off in September 2018, can contact DeWayne and Amanda Johnson at johnson.yea@valdostachamber.