Category Archives: Reinventing Small Business

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.

27Apr/18
8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

Local Teen to Represent Polk County at National Competition

Local Teen to Represent Polk County at National Competition

More than $70,000 in scholarships to be awarded

LAKELAND, FL – April 27, 2018 – The Young Entrepreneurs Academy will host its 10th Annual Saunders Scholars National Conference and Competition on May 4, 2018.

Student semifinalists from YEA! chapters across the country will travel to the Rochester Institute of Technology to present their business ideas to a panel of judges.

Saunders Scholars is funded by entrepreneur and philanthropist E. Philip Saunders who began paving his business dreams while working at his dad’s gas station as a teenager. He recognized the need to provide truck drivers with more than just a fill up. He went on to create a national chain of truck stops known as Travel Centers of America.

THE YEA! SAUNDERS SCHOLARS COMPETITION

WHO:  

Sachin Sivakumar, 8th grader and local YEA! Semifinalist (YEA! Polk)

Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, Lakeland, FL

Star Scout, Boy Scout Troop 711

8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

WHAT:                              

Sachin was selected to compete in the final competition after successfully pitching his business concept to local business leaders in the YEA! Semifinals, or Shark Tank, held on April 4, 2018, at Southeastern University.

WHY:

His business, ScoutVenture, involves solving for a common problem faced by many Boy Scouts. ScoutVenture is an app that helps Boy Scout Troops manage themselves and plan for the future.

WHEN:                              

Sachin travels to New York on Thursday, May 3 but is available for interviews Monday through Wednesday upon request.

MEDIA CONTACT:          Rebecca Fortier, (863) 688-8551, ext. 229, or cell (863) 221-2678, rfortier@lakelandchamber.com

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THE YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ACADEMY (YEA!)                                                YEA! Is a national non-profit organization that teaches and empowers students ages 11 to 18 to launch and run their own real, small businesses through an exciting, projects-based program. Founded in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, today YEA! has empowered over 9,000 students at over 100 locations across the United States with international classes underway in India and Shanghai. YEA! graduates have been featured on TV’s hit show Shark Tank, raised tens of millions of dollars in seed capital, won millions of dollars in college scholarships, have been featured in the nation’s top publications, from The New York Times to Forbes Magazine, and have graduated from top business schools and colleges including the Harvard Business School, Wharton, Stanford, Cornell, RIT, Saunders, Simon, among others.

YEA! provides young people with the ability to recognize opportunities and shows them the power of their potential. YEA! students learn the magic formula on how to transform an idea—their idea—into an enterprise that creates value. YEA! teaches students how to unleash their imagination by introducing them to the formula of entrepreneurial success—at an early age.

THE YEA! SAUNDERS SCHOLARS COMPETITION

Each year, students from every YEA! site across the country compete to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur and win college scholarships at the YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition. The Saunders Scholars program is named for and supported by Rochester area business magnate E. Philip Saunders. In 2008, the Saunders Foundation awarded YEA! a transformational gift to provide young entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors an opportunity to earn significant college scholarship awards.

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.

20Feb/18

ASPIRING TWEEN AND TEEN ENTREPRENEURS MEET WITH LOCAL CEOs

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (February 20, 2018) — Due to a scheduling conflict, R. Joseph Childs will not attend the Third Annual CEO Roundtable. In his place, Grant Nieddu, The Spark { SITES } Project, will take Mr. Childs’ spot on the panel. This event allows students of the local Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk (YEA! Polk) to explore issues regarding entrepreneurship – including addressing specific challenges, sharing stories of success and failure, and discussing the power of networking.

The five local CEOs providing advice and insight are:

  • Gary Claville, Retired-President, Dixie-Southern Constructors, Inc.
  • Katherine Lake, Chief Connections Officer, My Office & More
  • Marsha Leap, President, Leap Ahead Professional Development, LLC
  • Chrissanne Long, CEO and Co-Owner, Maximize Digital Media
  • Grant Nieddu, Chief Spark Instigator, The Spark { SITES } Project

The CEOs are volunteering their time to speak with the fourteen students in the 2017-18 academic year of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk, or YEA! Polk, in a roundtable setting, hosted by Lakeland Chamber member Kate Lake at her business My Office & More. “It is our privilege to partner with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Those students inspire us as we continue our mission to educate others about business,” says Kate.

The program will be moderated by Ken Farris, Counselor, at Central Florida SCORE, and also an instructor for the YEA! Polk program. This year, the businesses that the students are trying to launch include an irrigation system, and I.D. tag for beverages, drone services, adjustable school uniforms that “grow” with you, an app to help Boy Scouts – and several more.Copy of CEO Roundtable (1)

The CEO Roundtable for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk is scheduled for Wednesday, February 21, 2018 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm, in the Meeting Room at My Office & More in Downtown Lakeland. The event is free and open to the public, with registration required:  http://bit.ly/2E0HyRl or at www.lakelandchamber.com under the Events tab.

Thank you to our Investor Sponsors that make this program possible:  Allen & Company of Florida, Inc., Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership, Publix Super Markets, Inc., Suncoast Credit Union, and SunTrust Bank.

YEA! teaches kids ages 11 to 18 how to identify their passions, develop a business idea, write a business plan, pitch investors for funding, and obtain all the necessary components to create a fully, formed and functioning business or social movement by the end of the 30-week class.

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.

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.

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21Jul/17

Information Session for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy

INFORMATION SESSION FOR THE YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ACADEMY

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (July, 21, 2017) — My Office & More will host two Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Information Sessions for students in grades 6-12, their families, and local business leaders about YEA!, a 30 week program that guides middle and high school students through launching and running their own real businesses or social movements!

Attendees will learn about the structure, curriculum, and student application process for the program, as well as how business leaders can get involved as a mentor, guest speaker, field trip host, or investor.

Kate Lake, Chief Connections Officer of My Office & More remarks, “In May, I had the chance to meet a number of YEA entrepreneurs at a Lakeland Chamber event. Their creativity and determination was inspiring. It’s clear this program creates possibilities for aspiring students and we welcome the opportunity to advocate for and encourage these future CEOs.”

WHEN:                       Tuesday, August 8, 2017 & Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

WHERE:                     My Office & More, 122 E Main St, Lakeland, FL  33801

WHO:                    Students grades 6-12 and their families; Business leaders and interested community volunteers; This event is free and open to the public, space is limited, so registration is strongly encouraged

Call (863) 688-8551 ext. 229 or email rfortier@lakelandchamber.com to RSVP or register online at http://bit.ly/2uGLnZX .

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy provides students in grades 6-12 with the knowledge and skills they need to start and run their own business. No business experience is needed – just creativity, enthusiasm, dedication and lots of effort.

The local chapter of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will accept up to 20 students; the application deadline is Friday, September 15. Classes will take place 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Southeastern University beginning in October. The tuition for the program is $495. There are some need-based scholarships available. The program offers the opportunity to participate in the YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition with the chance to win college scholarships. The application for the Polk County program is available at https://yeausa.wufoo.com/forms/z1s0mvgj0gb2hwv/.

YEA Info Session image

 

 

 

 

 

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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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01Oct/14
Local Search Florida

Google Report: Local Searches Result in Sales – Four Simple Steps to Get LakelandChamber.com to Work for You

Local Search FloridaA BusinessNewsDaily story published at Mashable.com offers some compelling data for small local businesses. A recent report from Google finds that 50% of people who make local searches on a smartphone visit a store within 24 hours.

That’s a fabulous statistic! (Especially if you are one of the businesses that has already claimed your Google Business Listing. If you’re not – stop reading and click here to fix that.)

Here’s a not-so-fabulous one… 282 Chamber members – nearly 20% – aren’t taking advantage of the Chamber’s built-in SEO by including a website link in their directory listing.

LakelandChamber.com is a recognized local expert, and with just a few simple edits, your membership listing can boost performance in site searches and web searches.

Step 1: Get a Website

Seems simple enough, right? But how do you know which company to choose? How many pages? Can you update it yourself? The questions – and perceived cost – can overwhelm a small business owner who needs to make a quick and painless decision.

Good news. Not only do we have a list of fellow members with website design and search expertise, we also have a partnership with Google called Get Your Business Online that offers a free website to small businesses for one year.

Step 2: Tell Me What Your Website Is!

If you think you might be one of the 282 companies that is missing a website listing at LakelandChamber.com, call us to let us know what your web address is and be sure that the information we provide to the community on your behalf is correct. You can reach us at (863) 688-8551 or LakelandChamber.com/contact.

This link is important because Google likes links between websites – and recognizes the Chamber as a local expert (which, in my head, puts a gold star next to your name in Google’s giant math problem of search results).

Step 3: Know Your Search Terms

Really, this should be step one, but I feel so passionately about the benefits of websites, I reordered it – possibly for dramatic effect. Please indulge me.

As you are thinking about the products and services your provide, think about how I (or your local prospects) would search for those products & services. As small business owners, we can be entrenched in our work and it may be easy to forget that our customers (and our prospects) don’t speak the jargon quite as fluently.

This is one place where hiring an expert can save you time and confusion. They can help you identify how consumers are currently searching for you or your competitors through their experience and access to tools that Google provides.

(Point of importance: These Google tools like Anayltics, AdWords and Webmaster tools are all available to anyone. However, unless your business card lists Webmaster as your title, you’ll find much greater return on your dollar with an expert hire than if you tried to learn how to use them yourself. This is one of those times when seeking help can save you money in the long run.)

Step 4: Tell Me What Those Search Terms Are!

LakelandChamber.com provides a special field for each member to include search terms/key words/description… anything you choose to call it. This field is used to query member listings from our Preferred Business Directory, but is also useful to bolster your SEO.

Click here to tell the Chamber to add your website address to your directory listing!