Category Archives: Chamber Foundation

22May/18
Young Entrepreneurs Academy III (2017-18) at 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports field trip. From L to R:  Mark Van Wagenen, Manager, 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports; Sachin Sivakumar; Skyler Hollinger; Alexander Thomas; Om Tarapawala; Angel Mendez (in back); Warin Ding; Shelby Claville; Grant Gable; Luke Shamoun; and, Mark Scolnick, Central Florida SCORE.

LOCAL YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ACADEMY IV RECRUITING STUDENTS FOR 2018-19

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (May 22, 2018) — The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is recruiting students for the fourth class of the Polk County chapter for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a 30-week program for students, ages 11-18, where students start and run their own business and form connections with community leaders. The direct mission of the Academy is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. The Academy teaches kids to believe in themselves, to think big, and to understand that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. In the process, students learn as much about leadership and self-empowerment as they do about planning, budgeting, and production. Students in the Academy discover in themselves confidence, optimism, and capabilities they never knew they had.

Alexander Thomas, graduate of the 2017-18 class and owner of Aerial Perspective, shares his experience at the Academy, “I have had a great time participating in YEA! Polk this year. I have learned the starting principles of how to develop, run, and manage a business. The business I founded, Aerial Perspective Drone Services, is advancing significantly. On April 4th, I pitched my business idea to the YEA! Shark Tank investors and I received $1,300. With the awarded cash I purchased the business’ first drone! During the weeks following the student business presentations, we had several guest speakers. Ms. Dawn Decaminada from Polk County Small Business spoke to us about what the government can do for small businesses. Also Mr. Mark Van Wagenen led us on a tour of 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports. My fellow students and I got to ‘jump’ after the tour! My class and I have also learned about advertising, marketing, taxes, banking, and continuity and exit strategies. We also met three people representing the media (The Ledger, Spectrum Bay News 9, and Hall Communications, who spoke to us about press releases and how to interview with a reporter. On May 15th six students, including me, set up booths for a Trade Show event hosted by the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce at the RP Funding Center. I was able to get several leads and received a lot of encouragement and advice. I am looking forward to running Aerial Perspective Drone Services to the best of my ability.”

Young Entrepreneurs Academy III (2017-18) at 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports field trip. From L to R:  Mark Van Wagenen, Manager, 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports; Sachin Sivakumar; Skyler Hollinger; Alexander Thomas; Om Tarapawala; Angel Mendez (in back); Warin Ding; Shelby Claville; Grant Gable; Luke Shamoun; and, Mark Scolnick, Central Florida SCORE.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy III (2017-18) at 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports field trip. From L to R:  Mark Van Wagenen, Manager, 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports; Sachin Sivakumar; Skyler Hollinger; Alexander Thomas; Om Tarapawala; Angel Mendez (in back); Warin Ding; Shelby Claville; Grant Gable; Luke Shamoun; and, Mark Scolnick, Central Florida SCORE.

A graduate of the 2016-17 Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Logan Soria, CEO/Owner of Stand Up!, comments on the program, “You are going to go through a part-time business boot camp. That isn’t something you should be afraid of. As an entrepreneur, you have to embrace the barriers ahead – whether it be a lack of knowledge, funds, or ability. Trust me, if you try your best, you will make it through those hard times and you will be rewarded by your success.”

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce chapter will accept up to 20 students; the early application deadline is June 30, 2018 and guarantees interviews for all applicants. The final application deadline is August 24, 2018, and students may be placed on a waiting list.

Classes will take place 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Southeastern University beginning in October.

The tuition for the program is $495, and there are need-based scholarships available.

The application for the Polk County program is available at http://www.lakelandchamber.com/pages/YEA or http://yeausa.org/. For questions or additional information, please contact Rebecca Fortier at (863) 688-8551 ext. 229, or by email at rfortier@lakelandchamber.com

Media about our local Academy https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4779nhjk7576kez/AADk7CvpASvWxl34F6kah9hza?dl=0

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk Sponsors and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce are helping to build the next generation of business leaders in Central Florida.

Premier Sponsors:

Lakeland Chamber Foundation

Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership at Southeastern University

Investor Panel Sponsors:

Allen & Company of Florida, Inc.

Publix Super Markets, Inc.

SunTrust Bank

Scholarship Sponsors:

Citrus Center Kiwanis

Maximize Digital Media

Mulberry Community Service Center

Suncoast Credit Union Foundation

Community Sponsors:

Gary S Claville Trust

Got Candy & More Food Truck

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Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy

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 yeausa.org.

10Apr/18
Pictured in photo left to right:  Alexander Thomas, Miracle Murff, Zyad Elmasri, Skyler Hollinger, Om Taropawala, Sachin Sivakumar, Grant Gable, Shelby Claville.

YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS FUNDED AT SHARK TANK EVENT

Shark Tank Students1

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (April 10, 2018) — Students from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk County (YEA! Polk) were awarded start-up funding to launch their businesses after pitching to a panel of local investors.

The event featured eight students, from middle through high school ages, all from Polk County, who are members of the 2017-18 Young Entrepreneur Academy of Polk, or YEA! Polk. They pitched their business ideas and plans to four local investors who would decide whether their ventures were worth funding.

The panel included community business leaders – Dr. Lyle Bowlin, Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership at Southeastern University; Craig Hosking, Maximize Digital Media; Kate Lake, My Office & More; and, Harold M. McLeod, III, SunTrust – and awarded $6,500 in funding.

Here’s how the teen business owners fared:

  • Alexander Thomas, 14-year-old high school freshman and CEO of Aerial Perspective, a drone photography and videography service, was awarded $1,300.
  • Zyad Elmasri, 8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy and CEO of Drink I.D., a dial label that can be put on cans or cups during parties that will help distinguish one can from another, was awarded $500.
  • Miracle Murff, graduating senior at Polk State Gateway to College High School and owner of HelpMate, a service that connects local small businesses with those in need, was awarded $200.
  • Om Taropawala, 7th grader at All Saints Academy and owner of InnovaTutors, a better way to tutor students using the students and teachers themselves as leaders, was awarded $500.
  • Grant Gable, 11th grader at Lake Wales IB and CEO of Just Ball, a basketball rebound netting, was awarded $925.
  • Sachin Sivakumar, 8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy and owner of ScoutVenture, an app for Boy Scout Troops that helps Scouts manage themselves and plan for the future, was awarded $1,600.
  • Shelby Claville, graduating senior at Mulberry High School and CEO of ToGoGo, a catering delivery service, was awarded $225.
  • Skyler Hollinger, 7th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy and CEO of UniqueForm, a company providing a better manufactured uniform that “Grows with the student,” was awarded $1,250.

Sachin Sivakumar of ScoutVenture was selected to represent the local Polk County Chapter at the YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition in Rochester, New York in May. He will compete against almost 300 other semi-finalists – the best of the best. Skyler Hollinger of UniqueForm was selected as runner-up. The Annual YEA! Saunders Scholars Semi-Finals competition will kick off May 4 in Rochester, New York.

The students all attend a weekly class on the campus of Southeastern University for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy to learn business practices and strategies. The classes began in October and will end in May with a graduation ceremony.

The direct mission of the Academy is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. The magic is that the Academy teaches kids to believe in themselves, to think big, and to understand that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.  In the process, students learn as much about leadership and self-empowerment as they do about planning, budgeting, and production.  Students in the Academy discover in themselves confidence, optimism, and capabilities they never knew they had.

Applications for the 2018-19 academic year of the Academy are available now:  http://www.lakelandchamber.com/pages/YEA

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce manages the Young Entrepreneurs Academy locally. Students are introduced to all facets of the business world including, but not limited to, advertising, attorneys, graphic designers and web developers. Students work in close cooperation with local business leaders, community leaders and educators who use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to transform their ideas into tangible enterprises that create economic and social value for a better world.

YEA! is made possible by our Investor Sponsors:  Allen & Company of Florida, Inc., Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership at Southeastern University, Lakeland Chamber Foundation, Publix Super Markets, Inc., and SunTrust; and our Scholarship Sponsors:   Citrus Center Kiwanis, Maximize Digital Media, Mulberry Community Service Center, Suncoast Credit Union, and Got Candy & More! The YEA! Sponsors and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce are helping to build the next generation of business leaders in Polk County.

To learn more about YEA! visit yeausa.org, or for information on our local chapter, please visit http://www.lakelandchamber.com/pages/YEA.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400 member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes. Five-Star Accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements:

Vision Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice.

Mission Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy

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 yeausa.org.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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20Oct/13
CL Community Forums Flyer

CONNECT LAKELAND Community Forum Oct 22: Connecting Tech Talent

At the end of 2009, Lakeland citizens completed an inclusive and comprehensive strategic plan that represents what the Lakeland community wants to preserve and aspires to become. One of the elements most appreciated in the community is that Lakeland becomes ‘Prosperous.’   This is documented in Lakeland’s Vision Document under the topic of “Economic Development:”

Prosperous Lakeland Goal: Lakeland is a prosperous, technologically advanced city that attracts and retains a young, innovative, and talented workforce within a creative environment.

To complement ongoing community efforts to reach the goal of a prosperous Lakeland, Lakeland Vision, Inc has developed CONNECT LAKELAND, an initiative made possible by funding from the Lakeland Area Chamber Foundation.

CONNECT LAKELAND will be a series of community forums, a community workshop and a community scavenger hunt contest using twitter. The purpose of the CONNECT LAKELAND events is to grow and promote the Lakeland area technology “eco-system” by uniting technology, business leaders, government, educators and citizens together.

“We looked at what others cities in our region and around the country were doing in terms of garnering a community of strong tech talent,” says Lakeland Vision Executive Director Tammy Wright. “In many cases, different groups and organizations are just getting conversations going and bringing stakeholders together to move ideas forward. This is being done through simple Meetup.com gatherings or more creative events like the BarCamp Un-conferences happening in Tampa and Orlando.”

The CONNECT LAKELAND events will take place throughout the month of October, 2013. Lakeland Vision board chair, Cindy Sternlicht, explains further. “For our first round of tech talks and events, we are offering something for everyone. We hope these discussions and events will highlight our strengths, weaknesses and areas for opportunity. From this information, we can follow up with continued facilitated discussions, workshops, and more in 2014.”

 

CONNECTING OUR TECH TALENT – A Panel Discussion

WHEN:  Tuesday October 22, 2013 (11:00am – 12:30pm)

WHERE:  Polk Museum of Art – Auditorium

The focus of this panel discussion will be to address some of the following questions:

  • What are our local educators doing to expand the IT workforce of our community?
  • How are businesses affecting our educators?

 

All CONNECT LAKELAND events are free and open to the public, however seats are limited. Please register for events online at http://connectlakeland.eventbrite.com/ . For more information check www.connectlakeland.com or call (863) 682-9660.

13Oct/13
CL Community Forums Flyer

CONNECT LAKELAND Community Forum Oct 15: Connecting With Our City

At the end of 2009, Lakeland citizens completed an inclusive and comprehensive strategic plan that represents what the Lakeland community wants to preserve and aspires to become. One of the elements most appreciated in the community is that Lakeland becomes ‘Prosperous.’   This is documented in Lakeland’s Vision Document under the topic of “Economic Development:”

Prosperous Lakeland Goal: Lakeland is a prosperous, technologically advanced city that attracts and retains a young, innovative, and talented workforce within a creative environment.

To complement ongoing community efforts to reach the goal of a prosperous Lakeland, Lakeland Vision, Inc has developed CONNECT LAKELAND, an initiative made possible by funding from the Lakeland Area Chamber Foundation.

CONNECT LAKELAND will be a series of community forums, a community workshop and a community scavenger hunt contest using twitter. The purpose of the CONNECT LAKELAND events is to grow and promote the Lakeland area technology “eco-system” by uniting technology, business leaders, government, educators and citizens together.

“We looked at what others cities in our region and around the country were doing in terms of garnering a community of strong tech talent,” says Lakeland Vision Executive Director Tammy Wright. “In many cases, different groups and organizations are just getting conversations going and bringing stakeholders together to move ideas forward. This is being done through simple Meetup.com gatherings or more creative events like the BarCamp Un-conferences happening in Tampa and Orlando.”

The CONNECT LAKELAND events will take place throughout the month of October, 2013. Lakeland Vision board chair, Cindy Sternlicht, explains further. “For our first round of tech talks and events, we are offering something for everyone. We hope these discussions and events will highlight our strengths, weaknesses and areas for opportunity. From this information, we can follow up with continued facilitated discussions, workshops, and more in 2014.”

 

GETTING STARTED AND CONNECTING WITH OUR CITY

WHEN:  Tuesday October 15, 2013 (6:30pm – 8:00pm)

WHERE:  Lakeland Public Library – Main Branch

GUEST SPEAKERS:

  • Vic Nunnez, Lakeland Public Library – How Your Public Library Can Help You Get Connected
  • Kevin Cook, City of Lakeland Communications – How to Use Technology to Connect With Your City

 

All CONNECT LAKELAND events are free and open to the public, however seats are limited. Please register for events online at http://connectlakeland.eventbrite.com/ . For more information check www.connectlakeland.com or call (863) 682-9660.

06Oct/13
CL Community Forums Flyer

CONNECT LAKELAND Community Forum Oct 8: Connecting With Our Region

At the end of 2009, Lakeland citizens completed an inclusive and comprehensive strategic plan that represents what the Lakeland community wants to preserve and aspires to become. One of the elements most appreciated in the community is that Lakeland becomes ‘Prosperous.’   This is documented in Lakeland’s Vision Document under the topic of “Economic Development:”

Prosperous Lakeland Goal: Lakeland is a prosperous, technologically advanced city that attracts and retains a young, innovative, and talented workforce within a creative environment.

To complement ongoing community efforts to reach the goal of a prosperous Lakeland, Lakeland Vision, Inc has developed CONNECT LAKELAND, an initiative made possible by funding from the Lakeland Area Chamber Foundation.

CONNECT LAKELAND will be a series of community forums, a community workshop and a community scavenger hunt contest using twitter. The purpose of the CONNECT LAKELAND events is to grow and promote the Lakeland area technology “eco-system” by uniting technology, business leaders, government, educators and citizens together.

“We looked at what others cities in our region and around the country were doing in terms of garnering a community of strong tech talent,” says Lakeland Vision Executive Director Tammy Wright. “In many cases, different groups and organizations are just getting conversations going and bringing stakeholders together to move ideas forward. This is being done through simple Meetup.com gatherings or more creative events like the BarCamp Un-conferences happening in Tampa and Orlando.”

The CONNECT LAKELAND events will take place throughout the month of October, 2013. Lakeland Vision board chair, Cindy Sternlicht, explains further. “For our first round of tech talks and events, we are offering something for everyone. We hope these discussions and events will highlight our strengths, weaknesses and areas for opportunity. From this information, we can follow up with continued facilitated discussions, workshops, and more in 2014.”

 

CONNECTING WITH OUR REGION

WHEN:  Tuesday October 8, 2013 (6:30pm – 8:00pm)

WHERE:  Polk Museum of Art – Auditorium

GUEST SPEAKERS:

  • Pat Gehant, Tampa Bay Technology Forum – Overview of the Grow Tampa Bay Tech Initiative
  • Dan McGaw, Envy Labs – Passion Projects, How Envy Labs is Growing and Fostering the Orlando Technical Community

 

All CONNECT LAKELAND events are free and open to the public, however seats are limited. Please register for events online at http://connectlakeland.eventbrite.com/ . For more information check www.connectlakeland.com or call (863) 682-9660.