Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal

Locate Finger Lakes Announces The Winner Of The 2022 YEA! Investor Panel Competition

LOCATE Finger Lakes, along with our great partner, Lyons National Bank (LNB) and in particular, Chairman Bob Schick, congratulates Remy Turcotte, the winner of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel award.

Remy’s business idea, SenSwords, a non-violent and fun way to learn the sport of fencing, received the highest score from the Investor Panel judges, and LOCATE Finger Lakes extends all our best wishes for his success at the Saunders Scholars Competition in June.

LOCATE Finger Lakes is especially grateful to Dr. Robert Nye, President of Finger Lakes Community College and President Dr. Brian Durant, President of Cayuga Community College for their dedication and support as well as their financial commitment to the program. Special thanks also to YEA! Program Manager, LaToya Collins and Carol Urbaitis, Vice President of Enrollment Management at FLCC.

The National YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition will take place from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 4th via 13 WHAM news.

The event consists of three Semi-Final Rounds and one Finals Round. Cash awards of up to $5,000 are up for grabs for the top three finalists as well as a $30,000 Scholarship for the first place winning business. Students will work with WHAM Producers to present their 3-minute pitch to a new panel of judges and a national audience. 13 WHAM will air the competition on their news channel as well as their social media platforms.

The Saunders College of Business at RIT has been a proud partner of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) for over a decade and the 2021/22 class is one of the most impressive yet.

Hosted virtually and jointly by Cayuga Community College (CCC) and Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC), students began the program in October 2021. Students ranged in age and location, from a participant as young as 10 to an 18-year-old graduating senior. Participants came from throughout the Finger Lakes, including Skaneateles, Seneca Falls, Canandaigua, Wolcott, Auburn, Bloomfield, and Dundee.

Students in this year’s YEA! program had their unique business ideas reviewed by the Investor Panel of judges. The students submitted a 5-minute pitch video which was judged virtually by the panel.

This year’s YEA! Investor Panel was made up of:

  • Jane Sessler-Shaffer, President, Sessler Wrecking Inc.
  • Ben Pearson, Founder & CEO, ENALAS
  • Mike Davis, Business Manager, I.B.E.W. 840
  • Maureen Ballatori, Founder & CEO, 29 Design Studio
  • Melanie and Toby Maloney

Melanie Maloney, who co-founded Mental Floss with her husband, is not only active in the entrepreneurial and startup community, but she’s also an alumna of Cayuga Community College. She has seen firsthand “the difference business education and support can make for individuals and the community,” and is “delighted to see a program like this in my hometown”.

In addition to the members of the Investor Panel who donated funds to be distributed to students in the program, Brett Beachner, CEO and founder of GlowCity, helped to mentor students in this year’s YEA! program and also provided financial support for the Investor Panel awards.

Mike Nozzolio, co-founder of LOCATE Finger Lakes, and Chairman of the Board of Directors, explained that helping young people become entrepreneurs and teaching them business skills has been a key focus of LOCATE Finger Lakes.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to witness the growth in each young person from the beginning of the program to the end where they have a fully functioning business to call their own,” said Nozzolio.

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