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Pitches pay off at MVCC YEA! investor panel event

Marketing and Communications

Pitches pay off at MVCC YEA! investor panel event

Seven middle and high school students from Oneida and Herkimer Counties pitched their business ideas before a panel of five local investors to compete for funding at the Third Annual Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel Presentation Event at Mohawk Valley Community College on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. The students presented before representatives from some of the area’s biggest companies as well as an audience filled with family, friends, and members of the community, for the opportunity to gain funding for their original ideas that could be the next big thing.

The Investor Panel donated monetary contributions and in-kind donations at the event, as well as their support and encouragement in their belief that they, too, can make a job – not take a job – at any age.

The investor panel consisted of the following business professionals:

  • Robert Korrie, President, Beebe Construction Services, Inc.
  • Christopher Dovi, Sales & Service Manager, First Source Federal Credit Union
  • Thomas Serwatka, Business Development Officer, First Source Federal Credit Union
  • Pamela Matt, Executive Director, Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce
  • David Manzelmann, Utica Market President, M&T Bank

Invested funds totaling $3000 were divided and allocated to the businesses that the investors felt had a well-developed plan, and an idea that had a good chance at success. The Greater Utica Chamber awarded one CEO with a one-year Chamber membership. MVCC awarded Presidential Scholarships to two students from one of the winning businesses, Camp Clef, which covers full tuition for two years. New this year, one student was awarded with a $500 Shopping Spree to Sam’s Club, thanks to a generous donation by Sam’s Club.

The investments were awarded as follows:

  • Camp Clef is the first partnership that has begun within YEA! MVCC. Camp Clef is a theater and choir camp for kids. This business received $825 in startup funds. Owners Rosa Longo and Brandan Parks were also selected to compete regionally in Rochester at the Saunders Scholar Event, coming up in May, with 27 other businesses from around the Northeast, and both also received a Presidential Scholarship from MVCC. Rosa is an 11th grade student at Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High and Brandan is a 10th grade student at Herkimer Jr./Sr. High.
  • Doggone Deliciousness, a business producing all-natural, healthy dog biscuits, received $650 in startup funds. Owner Matt Coyne is in 7th grade at Westmoreland Middle School. Matt was also presented with the one-year membership to the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce.
  • Cherry Dipped, a company producing Lolita-style inspired hair accessories, received $625 in startup funds.  Owner Katherine Rossi is a 12th grader at Proctor Sr. High School. Katherine was also presented with the Sam’s Club $500 Shopping Spree.
  • Muya Islamic Boutique, a business importing and selling fashions for women, received $500 in startup funds. Owner Mariamu Muya is an 11th grade student at Proctor Sr. High School.
  • Confidence, a support group for high school students, received $200 in startup funds. Owner and director Josephine Naw is a 9th grade student at Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High.
  • Cromatique, a technology company creating and selling an App for tuning musical instruments, received $200 in startup funds. Owner Zach Lupa is an 8th grade student at Westmoreland Middle School.

Students will now begin marketing and selling their products and services, and preparing for the YEA! Trade Show to showcase their goods to the general public. The Trade Show will be held on Wednesday, April 29, from 5 – 7 p.m. at a Greater Utica Chamber Business After Hours Event, held at Mohawk Valley Community College in the Information Technology Building. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information on this event, please contact Carolyn DeJohn at cdejohn@mvcc.edu or 315.792.5410.

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Matthew Snyder
Executive Director of Marketing & Communications


Payne Hall, Office 345
1101 Sherman Drive
Utica, New York 13501
Telephone - 315.792.5330
FAX - 315.731.5856