May 18, 2017
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PEABODY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Eric Schwartz of Skyline Exhibits, shares presentation tips with Matt Ciampa, Sofia Vasconcelas, and Brandon Heath in preparation for YEA! Trade Show.
By ADAM SWIFT
PEABODY — Two Peabody High School students have been working overtime to join the next generation of great business leaders through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
Sofia Vasconcelas, 15, and Brandon Heath, a junior at the school, are among the seven local students who have taken part in the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce after-school program for the past 30 weeks. On Saturday, the public’s invited to stop by the Northshore Mall for the YEA! Trade Show to meet the students, learn about their ideas and business approach, and in some cases, even purchase products.
“The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is offered through the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce as a means to instill real life skills in our future workforce, teaching them how to make a job, not just take a job,” said Deanne Healey, president and CEO of the chamber. “We are incredibly proud of these kids and all they have accomplished. We’ve had tremendous support from the local business community willing to offer their expertise in areas of law, tax, marketing, sales, finance, graphic design, and websites, to name just a few.”
At the heart of the program are the 12- to 18-year-old students who have found an idea for a business, written business plans, pitched to investors, created websites, and more.
For Vasconcelas, that business is Generosi-Tee, specially designed T-shirts with a portion of the profits coming back to Boston Children’s Hospital. Heath’s business idea is Brain Bucket Safety, which promotes safe motorcycle habits.
Matt Ciampa, 12, of Lynnfield, had his idea for Treasure Socks stem from his own need to carry around allergy-related medicine. Treasure Socks have a special fabric pocket ideal for medicine or small objects. Ciampa was selected to pitch his idea in this year’s MassChallenge and is negotiating with a manufacturer for a large scale retail with the possibility of a product launch in 2019.
The Chamber of Commerce partnered with Community Credit Union in 2015 to start the YEA! Program, which is the only one in the state. The students’ start-up capital was provided by a number of local organizations, including Community Credit Union, Cranney Companies, Eastern Bank, Energi, Holden Oil, Peabody Wealth Advisors, Phil Richard Insurance, Rousselot of Peabody, Salem 5, and TD Bank.
The YEA! Trade Show is at the Northshore Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the food court area.