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Congratulations to the Fall 2018 Perlman Price Young Entrepreneurs class!

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several BGCSDC club members holding awards
Back Row: Erick Reynoso (Student Trainer and PYE Summer 2017 Graduate); Chase Chapura; Madelyn Brown; Jacob Stein; Desiree Gutierrez; Solymar Estrella; Nicolas Brunetti; Caroline Windom (Entrepreneurial Programs Specialist) Front Row: Christiana Guan; Jasmine Mendez; Ashley Lam; Aryelis Colon; Vanessa Tase; Kyle Smith; Fatima Demlak (Student Trainer and PYE Spring 2018 Graduate) Not Pictured: Ryan Jackson (Student Trainer and PYE Summer 2017 Graduate)

The Perlman Price Young Entrepreneurs (PYE) program added 12 new Sarasota County high school students to its list of graduates on Tuesday, December 11. The Fall 2018 class held their graduation celebration at The Club, a newly renovated space for teens inside of the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club at 3100 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. Thanks to generous support from Richard E. Perlman and James K. Price, the students received 65+ hours of entrepreneurial education throughout this program and developed critical thinking, leadership and financial literacy skills through practical business exposure and mentorships with local leaders in the entrepreneurial field.

The Fall 2018 PYE graduates include Madelyn Brown, a junior at Riverview High School; Nicolas Brunetti, a sophomore at Sarasota Military Academy; Chase Chapura, a senior at Brick House Academy; Aryelis Colon, a junior at Booker High School; Solymar Estrella, a sophomore at Riverview High School; Christiana Guan, a junior at Pine View School; Desiree Gutierrez, a junior at Sarasota Military Academy; Ashley Lam, a sophomore at Riverview High School; Jasmine Mendez, a freshman at Sarasota Military Academy; Kyle Smith, a senior at Booker High School; Jacob Stein, a freshman at Pine View School; and Vanessa Tase, a junior at Riverview High School.

The class was led by Caroline Windom, Entrepreneurial Programs Specialist, as well as, three Student Trainers who graduated from the PYE program in past cohorts including Fatima Demlak, a junior at The Out-of-Door Academy; Ryan Jackson, a junior at Suncoast Polytechnical High School; and Erick Reynoso, a sophomore at Booker High School.

At the beginning of the program, the students were introduced to the concepts of entrepreneurship and learned how to identify opportunities to meet the unique demands in a variety of markets. As the training progressed, the teens put their problem-solving skills to the test and began developing their own business ideas.

Once the class developed their business ideas, the students conducted market research to collect, organize and interpret data on potential customers and competitors. After the data collection, the teens learned about the cost of doing business, focusing on why fixed, variable and start-up expenses are necessary to turn their ideas into a functioning business plan. The teens learned how to market their ideas to attract, obtain and retain customers. The students pitched their business plans at the end of the program to local judges for a chance at securing start-up funds.

woman standing in front of a TV screen
Christiana Guan presents her business plan.

The students created a variety of business plans from products and services to nonprofit businesses.  In the end, Pine View School junior Christiana Guan won first place and $2,621 of seed funding for her venture called Ecolysian.

Christiana's passion for the environment inspired Ecolysian, which primarily focuses on upcycling and creating improved products from materials that are unwanted, donated, collected or bought from thrift stores, as well as, eco-friendly products made from recycled materials.

"Ecolysian is designed to inspire environmental activism in youth, and contribute to a more eco-friendly world through raising awareness and selling environmentally sustainable products," said Christiana. "Ecolysian will also have a blog that's mostly targeted to youth. The blog will feature posts that support environmental efforts and articles that highlight prominent youth advocates."

Click here to check out the Ecolysian website that Christiana is developing.

Jacob Stein was the second-place winner for his business called Dollar Donations. He received $1,380 of partial start-up funding. After finalizing his market research, Jacob discovered that the Millennial and Generation Z demographics want to donate to a charitable organization, but are often deterred by a lack of disposable income. He created Dollar Donations to allow any person to donate to a cause by removing the high donation minimums and accepting microtransactions. Jacob plans on utilizing Facebook crowd-sourcing to fundraise for specific organizations, and build a database of donors. After a few successful Facebook campaigns, Jacob will license his platform to nonprofit organizations to help them fundraise and engage a new donor base.

"Dollar Donations allows young people to feel empowered and serves nonprofits by increasing their fundraising efforts," said Jacob.

Following the pitch presentations, each PYE student was paired with a local mentor who will help them continue to build their entrepreneurial and leadership skills and explore their area of interests.

Congratulations to Christiana and Jacob and to the Fall 2018 PYE class for successfully completing this program!

PYE is offered three-times a year at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, specifically in the Tom & Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center. High school students who are interested in participating in the PYE program this spring can sign up today by clicking here. For more information, contact Caroline Windom, Entrepreneurial Programs Specialist, at 941-217-5295 or .

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