CORNING - It’s never too early to start your own business.
Ten young entrepreneurs from around the area pitched their business plans to a panel of investors at the Corning Country Club Wednesday evening during the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Investor Panel.
The young business-teens each run their own startup, or are working on getting one off the ground. They requested the help of the investors to help them financially with their efforts.
King’s Way Academy eighth grader and Bluebird Ski & Snow CEO Anna Murch won the night’s top honor. She received $1,000 from the investors, which she will put toward her startup.
“I feel very accomplished,” she said.
Murch’s startup idea is a company that tends to snowboards and skis. She cited that the area doesn’t have anywhere for locals to take their gear for maintenance. One of the closest shops is Bergers in Binghamton, which is nearly an hour away.
“We’ve been lacking a place to sharpen and wax skis and snowboards for quite some time now, so I’m coming to fill that gap,” she said.
The rest of the entrepreneurs didn’t make off empty handed. Each of them received the amount of money they asked for, if not more, to help them establish a foothold.
Nicholas Mattingly, CEO of KalidoGlow, received $380 for his startup. A ninth grader at C-PP High School, Mattingly intends to sell high-quality glow-in-the-dark stickers and tiles to put on cell phones and other devices.
He said he came across the idea when he noticed many parts for computers and electronics had a lot of LED lights on them. He observed that smartphones and tablets such as iPhones didn't have such lights and thought it would be a fun concept to work with.
“I feel that this idea would be pretty viable,” he said.
C-PP Middle School student and Smart Scholars Tutoring CEO Neal Singh received $200 to assist with his startup.
His tutoring business teaches students in grades one through eight.
“We tutor them in math and science, and my current setup is at the Steuben County Library,” he said.
Tutoring is something he has done before. He felt he could turn a passion for learning into a business venture.
“When they told me I need to come up with a product, I thought ‘well, since I’m already tutoring, I might as well stick with it,’” he said.
The remaining entrepreneurs in YEA included:
n Beene Ng’oma, CEO of Bluerose Cupcakes and freshman at Horseheads High School.
n Sofia Sterbenk, CEO of Doggie Delicacies and sixth grader at the Alternative School for Math & Science.
n Christine Lee, CEO of Christine’s Designs and sixth grader at CPP Middle School.
n Charlotte Neureuter, CEO of Tuxedo Optional and runner-up in Wednesday's panel.
n Aran Holland, CEO of Pure Elements/Photography by Aran and senior at C-PP High School.
n McKenzie Berger, CEO of Kemp and sophomore at C-PP High School.
n Austin Gleason, CEO of Sweet Surprises and freshman at Notre Dame High School.
n Roni Zinger, CEO of Sweetie Pie Headbands and sixth grader at Corning Painted Post Middle School.
The panel of investors included First Heritage CFO Frank Vassallo; Corning Credit Union Youth Education Coordinator Neil Folnsbee; Kathy Stickler of Mengel Metzger Barr & Co.; Dresser-Rand Focus Factory Manager Craig Perry; Wegmans Perishable Manager Sylvia Canfield; Chemung Canal Trust Company Senior Vice President & Director of Marketing Mike Wayne; Elmira Savings Bank Erwin Branch Manager Cory Eddy; M&T Bank Assistant Vice President of Business and Professional Banking Diane Lantz; former Planned Parenthood of the Finger Lakes Director of Public Affairs Sara Palmer, and Steuben County IDA Executive Director James Johnson.
“Cultivating entrepreneurial talent in the community is a goal of the Steuben County IDA,” Johnson said. “Through efforts to develop and retain local talent at an early age, we hope to capture students’ entrepreneurial spirit to help us grow our economy in the future.”