The 4th annual Young Entrepreneurs Academy CEO Round Table hosted by the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce was the first of three signature events for the students of the YEA! Program. It was a unique opportunity for the students and audience members to learn what it takes to be a CEO from a panel of local small business owners, Gary Romano (Civatis Strategies, Lynnfield), Cheryl Russo (Organizing by Cheryl, Lynn), Matt Genzale (MRG Construction Management, Peabody) and former YEA Student Aum Trivedi (Derive Robotics, Andover). They shared their stories and answered question on how and why they became CEOs, what inspires them and how they overcame obstacles while launching their businesses.
The event is designed to help our YEA class of middle and high school students better prepare to launch their own businesses in the coming months. These young CEO’s have been working diligently since October on learning what it takes to be an entrepreneur, writing business plans and creating pitch presentations. They will present to a panel of investors on April 3rd in a “Shark Tank” style competition where they will be awarded startup funds to launch their businesses. The panelists echoed what the students are learning in class. Matt Genzale, President of MRG Contruction Management in Peabody, told the students “Know your numbers” when talking about what it takes to be financially stable and that he always knew he wanted to be his own boss. Genzale has supported the YEA! program from its inception and has been a round table panelist, investor panelist, company sponsor, class instructor and most notable for last night’s event, a mentor to a 2017 YEA! graduate who was seated right next to him. Genzale and then Andover High School junior, Aum Trivedi, proved to be a winning team
As Trivedi was awarded full funding for his business “Derive Robotics” and was selected to represent the YEA! Peabody Program in the YEA! National Saunders Scholarship competition at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. Trivedi is now a freshman at UMASS Lowell’s Honors College studying engineering. He credits his YEA! experience for giving him the direction he needed to fulfill his need to explore entrepreneurship.
Cheryl Russo, Founder and CEO of Organizing by Cheryl said her path wasn’t so direct. “I was an English teacher,” Russo said. With advice from a friend and mentor, she realized that her dream was really to help people declutter their home and work spaces because it was what she always loved to do. Her teacher friends joked at how she organized the storage closet. Seated next to Russo was Gary Romano, Founder and CEO of Civitis Strategies and the CEO Round Table Sponsor. Civitis contributes to the betterment of children’s and families’ lives by helping public-serving organizations grow. His answer the question “why do you do it?” was “I have a double bottom line. I get paid and I get to help people”. The current class of students is YEA! Peabody’s largest to date with 14 middle and high school students from 8 different school systems and 4 different towns. These future entrepreneurs are from Andover, Beverly, Lynnfield and Peabody. These students will now finish their Investor Panel Presentations, scheduled for April 3rd at Brooksby Village MacIntosh Room and a business tradeshow at the Northshore Mall on April 27th.
About the Young Entrepreneurs Academy
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 25-week after-school program that teaches middle and high school students how to open their own business. During the program students brainstorm business ideas, write business plans, pitch those plans to a panel of investors for real money. The CEO Roundtable is a signature event which allows YEA! students (11-18), to hear inspiring stories from local top CEOs. This event helps our budding entrepreneurs, “connect the dots” between local businesses and the executives who lead them. For more information about these event or the Young Entrepreneurs Academy please contact Maria Terris firstname.lastname@example.org or (978) 531-0384