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PACC begins third year of YEA! on Oct. 25



Students from Peabody, Lynnfield and other North Shore communities will once again have the opportunity to cash in on their dreams of having their own businesses with the return of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!).

YEA! Program Manager Maria Terris, who is also the event coordinator for the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce, said there are currently 12 students enrolled in this year’s class, four of whom are from Peabody and three from Lynnfield. Those students include Taylor Ross, an eighth grade student at Higgins Middle School, Alex Locke, a junior at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, Dylan Blacker, a senior at Lynnfield High School, Gianfranco Sacco, a sophomore at Lynnfield High School, Jacob Bettencourt, a senior at Essex Technical High School, Adam Hoffman, a senior at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School and Christopher Areglado, a junior at Lynnfield High School. The other five students will be coming from Danvers and Westford.

“The students from Peabody and Lynnfield range in age from 13-18 and are all excited to be a part of this innovative program,” said Terris. “They know that it will be work above and beyond school and sports, but they are a committed, dedicated group who want to stand up and stand out.”

“Students are chosen based on a written application and interview,” said Terris. “We look for students who have the entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to create something whether it is a product, service or social movement.”

Starting on Oct. 25, YEA! will meet every Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. at North Shore Community College in Danvers.

Terris said YEA! teaches students how to brainstorm business ideas, write a business plan, participate in trade shows and register a business. “We walk them through every stage of starting a business … It is a huge confidence builder and a great addition to their college application,” she said, adding that YEA! culminates with students presenting their business before a panel with the goal of obtaining start-up funds.

Former YEA! students include Matthew Ciampa of Lynnfield, who at the age of 12 created Treasure Socks, a line of custom-made socks designed to carry medications. Ciampa was also selected to present his business idea to MassChallenge and is currently planning to launch his product in 2019.

“YEA! gave me the business knowledge and tools to turn my idea into a business,” he said. “As the YEA! program progressed, I was inspired to keep developing my business. YEA! was and is inspirational for kids like me.”

Michael Axiotakis of Lynnfield, a high school student at the time, emerged from YEA! with AxioCovers, a custom line of chrome book covers.

After high school, Ashley Hurton of Peabody went on to launch HappiWear, a line of exercise clothing, which she currently runs out of her dorm room at San Diego State University. Hurton was the winner of the East Coast Regional Competition in 2016 and presented HappiWear at the U.S. Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C.

By Christopher Roberson

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