Say YEA! for these local entrepreneurs

Apr 25, 2019 by

Published April 24, 2019

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — Five Lynnfield students will be showcasing new products they created at the Northshore Mall on Saturday, April 27.

The five students are enrolled in the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). The students in the program are Lynnfield Middle School seventh grader Cam Sullivan, LMS seventh grader Steve Migliero, LMS eighth grader Richie Sjoberg, Lynnfield High School freshman Charlie Tsomedis and LHS junior Ashley Sjoberg.

“The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a 25-week after-school program that teaches middle and high school students how to open their own business,” said Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce Program Director Maria Terris. “During the program, students brainstorm business ideas, write business plans and pitch those plans to a panel of investors for real money.”

THE LYNNFIELD STUDENTS participating in the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) this year are, from left, Ashley Sjoberg, Richie Sjoberg, Cam Sullivan, Steve Migliero and Charlie Tsomedis. (Courtesy Photo)

Terris noted the YEA! program also teaches students how to interact with business professionals, obtain funding, legally register their business and launch their business.

In addition to the five Lynnfield students, Terris noted there are also students from Beverly, Danvers and Peabody participating in the program.

Sullivan and Migliero worked together and created a mobile phone app called Buz during the YEA! program.

“It’s a mobile phone app for iOS,” said Sullivan. “It connects to your Apple Watch and lets you know that you have left your phone behind.”

Migliero noted Buz’s tagline is “find your phone before you loose it.”

Tsomedis established a company called Storm PC that is a “customer-tailored gaming computer building service.”

“I work with the consumer to custom-tailor computers for them,” said Tsomedis. “I figure out what is their budget and what they need so the consumer can get what they need without any of the extra add-ons that is going to artificially raise the price.”

Tsomedis noted he has been involved in the gaming and computers market since he was in fifth grade.

“I noticed most computers were severely overpriced,” said Tsomedis. “I will make a gaming computer exactly how you want it for half the money it would cost you if you bought it in a store.”

The Sjoberg siblings created a product called the Power Nap.

“It’s a three-and-one neck pillow, portable charger and blanket,” said Richie.

Ashley said the Power Nap is designed to help “weary travelers while they are traveling.”

Terris said all five aspiring entrepreneurs “worked tirelessly on their ideas.”

“I have heard from parents how impressed they are with the skills that their child is learning,” said Terris. “Real world stuff: Business acumen, critical thinking, financial concepts, formal writing and networking just to name a few.”

Migliero said YEA! was “a really interesting experience.”

“It will be very good to have on a resume,” said Migliero. “I enjoyed learning how to start a business. Before YEA!, I had no idea how any of this worked. I didn’t even know what a business plan was. We learned about budgeting and how to manage money. It was a cool experience.”

Ashley agreed.

“The YEA! class gave kids an opportunity that not everybody has,” said Ashley. “They taught us step-by-step what to do and how to do everything. They gave us a date that we needed to have the projects completed, which kept us on task. If we started this on our own, we would have had no idea what to do.”

Tsomedis noted YEA! taught him the logistics associated with starting a business.

“I had to find the cheapest parts for each computer and I had to figure out how to get a service-based website done,” said Tsomedis.

As part of the process to create the various products, Richie said YEA!’s participants had to work with suppliers, manufacturers and had to find materials.

Additionally, Ashley said all 14 students in the YEA! program “had mentors who helped us throughout the way.”

“They really helped us,” she said.

In addition to teaching the students business and networking skills, Richie said YEA! “was really fun.”

The five students noted Terris interviewed them before the class began and the students needed to have teacher recommendations in order to get accepted. Tsomedis recalled that Terris interviewed him at Capital One Café at MarketStreet.

“As soon as we were finished, she said she wanted me to join the program,” said Tsomedis.

Ashley and Richie both recalled that they met Terris at the Lynnfield Athletic Association’s Fourth of July Road Race last year, which paved the way for them joining the YEA! program. Richie said the YEA! students have been working on their respective projects on Wednesdays after-school since last September.

Terris noted the YEA! program had a “Shark Tank”-inspired investor panel at Brooksby Village in Peabody earlier this month, where the program’s participants pitched their businesses to local CEOs “in the hopes of being awarded three months of start-up funding.”

“I am so proud of how hard they worked and how they performed at the investor panel,” said Terris. “I expect to see Power Nap, Buz and Storm PC on the market very soon.”

The YEA! Student CEO Trade Show will take place on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Northshore Mall. The Trade Show will be located near Macy’s.

“We will each have a table set up and will be talking to people about what we are selling,” said Ashley. “We are going to try and sell them our products.”

Terris encouraged residents to come check out the students’ products.

“The YEA! Trade Show is the official launch of the student businesses once they have received their funding from the Shark Tank,” said Terris. “It’s an opportunity to show off what they’ve done and sell their product or service. The Northshore Mall has sponsored the event every year, and treats these students like they would any other professional trade show. It’s an exciting day for the young CEOs. So many shoppers stop because they are genuinely in awe of how innovative and young these entrepreneurs are.” 

In addition to participating in the Trade Show, Terris said the YEA! students will be appearing at Townscape’s Geraniumfest from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Lynnfield Middle School.

For more information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, residents can contact Terris at maria@peabodychamber.com or (978)-531-0384.

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