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YES Academy Participants Present Business Plans

YES Academy students present business proposals at the Round House Café as part of the eighth annual Youth Entrepreneurship Summer (YES) Academy Business Plan Showcase on July 30.

A group of future entrepreneurs has big ideas that could one day benefit the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Four business proposals were shared at the Round House Café as part of the eighth annual Youth Entrepreneurship Summer Academy (YES) Business Plan Showcase on July 30.

The proposed business ideas are an athletic training center, a coffee shop, a veterans’ center and a business that helps rescue and relocate wildlife.

The businesses, or even the proposals, aren’t coming to the Community anytime soon, at least not yet. But don’t tell that to the 19 teenagers who spent hours developing and fine-tuning their business ideas.

YES Academy participants were divided into three teams of five and one team of four. Each team’s presentation lasted about 15 minutes and included a short video commercial and a question-and-answer session with guest judges. Salt River Financial Services Institution (SRFSI) board members Frances Kauakahi and Rick Nelson and SRPMIC Council Member Ricardo Leonard judged the proposals.

The first-place winner was “Team Savage”: Anthony Lewis, Christine Lewis, Dellina Duwyenie, Kristen Riley and Selina Schurz. Each member received a $100 gift card.

The team’s proposal, the Native American Athletics Center, is a business dedicated to developing young Native athletes through training and providing educational and scholarship assistance to Community members and non-members.

“I got to hand it to you, it’s a great idea,” Leonard told the winning team.

The “Slay Queens” proposed a coffee shop and took second place, while “The Squad” took third place with its wildlife rescue and relocation center. Second-place winners received $50 gift cards and third-place winners received $25 gift cards.

The business showcase event was the final leg of a near weeklong entrepreneurship camp that started at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

YES Academy coordinator Gracie Briones praised the participants before and after the presentations.

“They put a lot of hard work and a lot of thought into their presentations,” she said.

Five YES Academy counselors assisted Briones, most of them past participants themselves. Each received an award certificate.

“This was the best year we’ve had so far,” Briones said. “We have amazing youth, and every single one of them that came to YES Academy grew immensely from day one. The counselors were unbelievable. Everyone was on the same page.”

YES Academy Participants

Megan Andrews, Alyssa Andrews, Lakota Antone, Kenneth Antone, Kristina Antone, Dellina Duwyenie, Hennesy Gastelum, Antonio Gloria Jr., Anthony Lewis, Christine Lewis, Milagros Quintero, Kristen Riley, Annabelle Salcido, Jacob Schurz, Selina Schurz, Pecola Taylor, Cecil Thomas, Elyssa Velarde and Celia Wood.

YES Academy Counselors

Elaina Gutierrez, Tre Hickem, Kiana Reina, Jessica Ruiz and Tallia Track.

Click here to view photo gallery.