Brady Overmyer and Christian Peterson are graduates of the YEA! Montrose Chamber of Commerce class in Colorado. Their business is B & C Sports, an inflatable paddleboard rental company.

Rather than renting traditional paddleboards that are expensive and difficult to transport, Brady and Christian decided that it would be much more feasible to purchase and rent inflatable paddleboards and deliver them right to their customers’ doorsteps.

The two graduated from YEA! in May with $2,480 in investor panel funds, and their business has been going strong ever since. In the fall, Christian will attend Colorado State University as an engineering student, and Brady will continue at Montrose High School as a senior. They plan on continuing their growing business for many years.

Want to learn more about the YEA! program in HEB?  Visit our website for more information, videos, and an application.

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Laney Hughes - Shallocat

Laney Hughes, CEO of Shallocat

Laney Hughes, a 2016 Saunders finalist from the YEA! DC Everest class hosted by the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce, was recently interviewed by Oliver Burrows, a YEA! mentor, on WXCO radio in Wausau, Wisconsin.

In the interview, Laney talked about her experience as a YEA! finalist and her challenging but rewarding entrepreneurial journey with YEA! throughout the year. Her company, Shallocat, is growing fast, and is exploring options for outsourcing to an American manufacturer.

She credited Program Manager Sara Guild and Instructor Jim Dahlgren with her great success in the Academy, calling them two of the most hardworking people she knows. Listen to the full interview here:



Zanab FarooqZanab Farooq, a 17-year-old YEA! graduate from Arlington, Virginia, auditioned for the upcoming season of ABC’s Shark Tank! Zanab is the Founder and CEO of Z14 Cases, a company which makes custom cell phone cases. She developed Z14 Cases in 2015 through the YEA! class hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

Zanab will soon find whether or not she will be selected to compete on the upcoming season of Shark Tank. “It was a very nerve-racking experience as I was the only high school student participating.”

The pressure was intense, but pitching in front of potential investors is nothing new for Zanab, or any YEA! students. Since graduating from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Zanab has continued to maintain valuable connections made through the program while building her business. Best of luck Zanab! View the press release from the Arlington Chamber of Commerce here.

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YEA Award WinngLast year, Maxx Stewart enrolled in the YEA! Tacoma-Pierce class at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce at in hopes of turning his idea for revolutionizing the lacrosse industry into a reality.

Through YEA!, Maxx founded Spyder Grypz, a company that makes customizable grips for lacrosse sticks. His idea took him all the way to the eighth annual Saunders Scholars Finals Competition at America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, DC. At the event, he gave his pitch to an audience of hundreds along with six other finalist business groups. He was chosen as the winner of the competition, and was awarded with a prize package including a $30,000 college scholarship and national recognition of his business.

Congratulations to Maxx, and to all students in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Class of 2016!

Posted in YEA

Young Entrepreneurs Present at HEB ISD School Board Meeting

Maria and Daniel Ghaly with Michael DelgadoWho ‘s that making a presentation to the HEB school district board? Why, it’s none other than Maria and Daniel Ghaly, winners of our recent Investor Panel, part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. The siblings were at the May 23rd regular meeting to discuss their award-winning business idea, Dress to Express. With them is Dr. Michael Delgado, D.D.S., who was chair of the program steering committee.

Maria and Daniel recently traveled to Rochester, New York to compete in the semi-final stage of the Saunders Scholarship competition.  They performed well, and were great representatives of the State of Texas, and of the HEB Community.  The national finals competition is being held next week in Washington, DC, where the finalists will compete for substantial college scholarships and national exposure.  The list of finalists can be found here.

Congratulations again to Daniel and Maria; a new class is starting soon, to learn more, please contact the Chamber or apply now!


Last week, YEA! Graduate Rachel Zietz pitched her business, Gladiator Lacrosse, to a panel of investors…on ABC’s award-winning show Shark Tank!

Her presentation was impressive, and it showed! Lori Greiner, the founder of QVC, said she was humbled by Rachel. “You’re doing everything right,” she said. Kevin O’Leary called the business “a hobby with great potential.” Daymond John said he would be doing her a disservice by taking part ownership of the company she built.

Although she did not strike a deal, her business is projected to reach $2 million in revenue this year, and has recently teamed up with world-famous lacrosse player Casey Powell to promote the company.

Rachel graduated from the YEA! Boca Raton, Florida chamber class in 2013 at just 12 years old. She has since been presented with numerous awards including the Boca Chamber’s Diamond Award, which is awarded annually to the top woman business leader in the region, and Florida’s Young Entrepreneur Award. She has spoken before organizations including the US Chamber of Commerce, Round Square and Cisco.

Check out her profile (including video) in USA Today!

Posted in YEA


Saunders Scholars National Competition LogoLast week, over 100 semifinalists from all corners of the country competed in Rochester, NY in hopes of being chosen by the judges to advance to America’s Small Business Summit as a 2016 YEA! Saunders Scholars Finalist. Here are this year’s Saunders Scholars Finalists:

From the Northeast Region, Ashley Hurton is a student in the YEA! Peabody, Massachusetts Chamber class. Her business, HappiWear, produces athletic clothing while promoting positive physical and mental health. HappiWear donates 15% of all profits to the Brain & Behavior Research foundation, an organization which funds research for a variety of mental disorders.

From the Northwest Region, Maxx Stewart from the YEA! Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber class in Washington is the CEO of Spyder Grypz, an innovative replacement to traditional lacrosse tape. Spyder Grypz is a one piece rubber grip sleeve that shrinks on to a lacrosse shaft when heat is applied, enhancing the lacrosse player’s grip and control of the ball.

Also from the Northwest Region, Laney Hughes is the CEO of Shallocat, an apparel company that produces a variety of one-of-a-kind items and accessories that are based off Laney’s original designs. Laney is a student in the YEA! Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce class in Wisconsin.

From the Southeast Region, Ethan Shapiro and Ryan Shnider are the Co-Presidents of Snap’d In, a fully customizable and updatable phone case that will revolutionize the phone case market. Their phone cases feature six interchangeable picture “pegs” that allow the user to switch out photos. The two are students in the YEA! Central Palm Beach Chamber class in Florida.

From the Southwest Region, Arya Desai, Meenu Pamula, and Mizna Akbar are the creators of Muzikguru, a free online resource that helps parents find the perfect music teacher for their children. The website features a detailed database with information about music teachers including cost, location, and years of experience. The three are students in the YEA! Clovis, California Chamber of Commerce class.

The runners-up from each region had the chance to give their pitch for a second time at the YEA! Celebration and Awards dinner. The audience was able to vote on which two out of the four businesses should advance to the Finals competition as the People’s Choice Award Winners:

Cyanne McClean is the CEO of Africa Smiles, a company that works to improve literacy for children. Africa Smiles earns revenue through selling fashionable bracelets, and then all of the proceeds go towards buying books for students in Tanzania. Cyanne is a Saunders Scholars Semifinalist from the YEA! Miramar Pembroke Pines Chamber class in Florida.

Emily Guertler’s business, StraightShot Apparel, produces pants designed specifically for people with diabetes. Emily is a Saunders Scholars Semifinalist from the YEA! Sandy, Utah Area Chamber class.

All seven groups will present their business plans one last time at America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, DC next month. The winner will be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur, and receive a prize package including a college scholarship, as well as media attention on a national level! To register for America’s Small Business Summit, click here.

Posted in YEA

Young Entrepreneurs Academy at HEB ISD Recognizes 2016 Graduates

YEA Graduates 2016 ccOn Monday, May 2, we recognized the participants and graduates of this year’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy.  YEA! Steering Committee Chairman Michael Delgado, DDS, of Delgado Orthodontics made remarks, and Chamber Board Chairman Kimberly Ball with DOCUmation North Texas was the master of ceremonies. Also participating in the graduation were HEB ISD Board of Trustee members Faye Beaulieu and Fred Campos, as well as Bedford Mayor Jim Griffin. YEA! is a program offered by the HEB Chamber in collaboration with HEB ISD to teach young people how to start and run a business.  To learn more about the new class starting in the fall, visit the Chamber web site. Congratulations to all of this year’s graduates!

Hurst Jr. High School siblings win entrepreneur award

HEB Chamber Investor Panel selects students’ creative and practical business idea

Daniel and Maria Ghaly with Darryl Day, one of the program instructors. Inset photo: One of their designs.

Daniel and Maria Ghaly with Darryl Day, one of the program instructors. Inset photo: One of their designs.

BEDFORD, TX: Dress to Express, the business created by siblings Maria and Daniel Ghaly, was named the winner of the HEB Chamber of Commerce Investor Panel, held March 22 at the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District’s Gene A. Buinger Career & Technical Education Academy.

The Investor Panel invites students in junior high and high school to present business ideas and solicit funding from a panel of prospective investors, in a format similar to the popular TV show Shark Tank. The Investor Panel is part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), run by the Chamber in collaboration with the HEB ISD.

Dress to Express creates personalized, weighted fashion accessories that attach to clothing with a magnet. The accessory can serve a variety of uses, helping hold down a dress on a windy day, protecting a bicycle rider’s pant leg or just serving as an attractive jewelry piece.

Maria is in the 9th grade at Hurst Jr. High School and Daniel is in the 7th. They are the children of Shereen Gendy and Maged Ghaly. In May, the siblings will travel to Rochester, NY, for the Saunders Scholars semifinal competition, where they will compete to advance to the finals, held in Washington, D.C.

Kimberly Ball, chairman of the HEB Chamber, major account manager with DOCUmation of North Texas and one of four panelists, said all of the students had great proposals, but that Dress to Express was exceptionally strong.

“Maria and Daniel really touched all the bases,” Ball said. “Their idea is marketable, costefficient, sustainable and fun. And the accessories look great, too. We all were very impressed with the creativity of their idea and how well they executed it.”

Eight other business ideas were presented to the panel, and each business received some funding.

In addition to Kimberly Ball, other panelists were: Steve Chapman, HEB school district superintendent for schools; Deborah Paganelli, president of Texas Health Hospital HEB and Steve Ward with Allstate-Steve Ward Insurance Agency in Bedford. Moderator for the program was Michael Delgado, D.D.S., the YEA! steering committee chair.

YEA! is a nationwide program launched in 2004 at the University of Rochester (NY). Over the course of nine months, participants learn how to write a business plan, obtain funding, launch the venture and market it. Instruction is supplemented with guest speakers, visits to local companies and mentoring. They also learn about web development, e-commerce and trade shows. The Chamber’s YEA! program is one of just six in Texas.

Mary Frazior, President and CEO of the Chamber, said the YEA! program is just one of the many ways the Chamber works to fulfill its mission of advancing business and strengthening communities.

“We believe the YEA! program is an investment in our future,” Frazior said. “By helping these young people learn entrepreneurial and leadership skills, we are helping ensure that our community continues to thrive in the years to come.”

Funding for the Investor Panel is provided by several local sponsors, including the HEB Economic Development Foundation, Texas Health HEB, Allstate-Steve Ward Insurance Agency, 6 Stones Mission Network, Delgado Orthodontics, First Financial Bank and Republic Services.

The Chamber will start accepting applications for the 2016-2017 YEA! program in May. To learn more, contact Linda Dibley at the Chamber, 817-283-1521 or visit List of all participants and business ideas:

Benjamin Benjadol, Central Jr. High School: American Geographic Conference

Maria and Daniel Ghaly, Hurst Jr. High School, Dress to Express David Herrera, Trinity

High School: Dream and Print 3D

Dev Jivanji, Central Jr. High: Worldly Feet

Tyler Kostopoulos and Daniel Stanev, Hurst Jr. High: StanKo Designs

Dylan McGinnis, Trinity High School: HEB Lawn & Windows

Ahmad Mohammad, Trinity High School: StickerFitz

Benjamin West, Trinity High School: All Washed Up!

Marshall Wimberly, L.D. Bell High School: Techmo Media Productions

YEA Graduates 2016 cc

Posted in YEA

An excellent investment: Daniel and Maria Ghaly named winners of HEB’s YEA Investor Panel for 2016

Daniel and Maria Ghaly with Darryl Day, one of the program instructors. Inset photo: One of their designs.

Daniel and Maria Ghaly with Darryl Day, one of the program instructors. Inset photo: One of their designs.

Siblings Daniel and Maria Ghaly really know how to express themselves. That’s why they are the winners of our Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel. Their business idea, “Dress to Express” involves making personalized, magnetic accessories that help weigh down clothing on a windy day, protect pants from getting caught in a bike gear or just look great. Eight other companies also presented ideas, and all were awarded some investment money. As the winners, Maria and Daniel will travel to Rochester, NY, in May for the Saunders Scholars semifinal competition. Congratulations to all the students who participated in the program, and good luck to Maria and Daniel!

Find out more information at our website:

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