Young Entrepreneur at Frenship Middle School Advances to Saunders Scholars Competition

*provided by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce*

Blake Vaughn-6Blake Vaughn, a Frenship Middle School seventh grade student and CEO of Compass Phone Cases, has been selected by an investor panel of local business leaders to compete in the Saunders Scholars Competition on Fri., May 5, in Rochester, N.Y. Thirteen-year-old Vaughn is a student in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) ran by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.

Vaughn was one of 16 students among 12 businesses who pitched their businesses to local investors on Wed., April 5, at the Helen DeVitt Jones Auditorium and Sculpture Court. The local investors awarded startup money to all 12 businesses and Vaughn was chosen as the Saunders Scholars Semi-Finalist.

Hundreds of business and education leaders, students and parents will gather to hear America’s top young entrepreneurs ages 11-18 pitch their business plans. The young entrepreneurs compete for the opportunity to advance to nationals to win college scholarships ranging from $25,000 – $50,000, an all-expenses paid trip to America’s Small Business Summit hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and business startup prizes.

The Saunders Scholars Competition is named for and made possible by legendary entrepreneur E. Philip Saunders. Local entrepreneurs, CEOs, and respected community members will judge this year’s competition, choosing who will advance to the Finals.

The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce runs the local YEA! class of 16 students. YEA!, founded and headquartered in Rochester, New York, offers programs in over 110 communities across the United States. During the course of the YEA! program, which spans 30-weeks of an academic year, students work closely with business leaders, community leaders and instructors to guide them as they learn to transform ideas into real, tangible companies that create economic and social value.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 501(C) 3 offering groundbreaking year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors for startup funds, and launch and run their own, fully formed companies and social movements. The project-based program empowers students to take charge of their futures.

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! today serves thousands of students nationwide. In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders.

YEA! bridges the business and educational communities to fulfill its mission of teaching more students how to make a job, not just take a job. YEA! is made possible by The Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. For more information, visit