Dundee students make business pitches

Gwen Chamberlain
Students in the Dundee YEA program made their cases for investors to commit funds to their businesses last week. Shown are (from left) Front (standing): Program Manager Vicky Odell, Anthony McAdams, Alysen Moore, Gordan Crans, Instructor Bobby Stewart; Row 2 (seated): Owen Maloy, Nathan Howell, Tessa Fowler, Morgan Jensen; Row 3: Steven Snell, Josh Earle, Kali Day; Back: Corey Day, K.C. Eldridge.

Owen Maloy and Steven Snell have a good idea for a company. In fact, their plan for Game 411, a Social Network for gamers is so good, a group of investors has given them $600 in start-up funding. They have also been given an opportunity to compete against 21 other student-owned businesses in a Rochester competition for additional awards in May.

Maloy and Snell received their funding and scholarship at the Dundee Central School Young Entrepreneurs Academy Investor Panel event on March 29, where they and six other businesses made their pitches for funds.

Game 411, according to Owen and Snell, will be a social network site, like Facebook, aimed at avid video gamers. They say it will provide the latest updates, news and releases of the latest video games, along with a place for gamers to interact.

The event was the local highlight of the YEA class, where students create and develop a business, then share their business plan with a panel of investors who commit funds based on the presentations.

Dundee teacher Randy Knapp, who was the Master of Ceremonies for the event, has also been instrumental in his family’s business, Knapp and Schlappi Lumber. He said he grew up in a world of “hand-shake business” and the lessons taught through YEA represent the true nature of business. “You can’t write it up in a curriculum,” he said, noting that students who participated in last year’s class are continuing their businesses.

James Dean, one of the owners of CD Videography, last year’s winner of the Saunders Scholarship to advance to the regional level, told Knapp the business has doubled its profits over last year.

Other businesses that made presentations, and the amount of start up funds they earned were:

• InDuctive Art, owned by Gordan Crans and Corey Day. They make and market custom duct tape items such as flowers, bouquets, hats, wallets. They sought $520 in start-up funds, and were granted $520.

• Swanky Squirrel’s Exchange, owned by Josh Earle. He offers custom T-shirts and Hoodies to be marketed to teens in Yates, Steuben and Ontario Counties. He sought $590.47 in start up funds and was granted $300.

• Kream Kream Ice Cream, owned by Kali Day and Kenneth Eldridge. The team will sell packaged ice cream items from a customized cooler at community and school events and from a pontoon boat on Lamoka Lake during the summer. They sought $383.80 in start up funds and were granted $383.80.

• Street Punk Skateboard Co., owned by Anthony McAdams. He designs graphics for skateboards. He sought $465 and was granted $175.

• Get the Party Started, owned by Tessa Fowler and Morgan Jensen. They plan themed parties for children as a service to busy parents. They sought $375 and were granted $375.

• Exotica Reptiles, owned by Alysen Moore and Nathan Howell. The team sells exotic pets, such as geckos, lizards and snakes. They sought $827 in start up funds and were granted $650.

Vicky Odell is the school’s YEA Program Manager and the instructor is Bobby Stewart.

The investor panel consisted of Susan Collins, DVM, owner of Millstone Veterinary Clinic; Steve Griffin, CEO, Finger Lakes Economic Development Center; Jessica Kinney, ProAction of Yates County; Mike Linehan, CEO, Yates County Chamber of Commerce; Claudia Maroney, general manager of Frontier Communications and Carrie Wood, of Douglas B. Miles Agency.

The funds that were awarded to the businesses came from contributions to the program from area businesses and organizations.

For more about the Young Entreprenuers Academy, visit www.yeausa.org.

Owen Maloy and Steven Snell, owners of Game 411, will compete against other businesses in a Rochester event in May for more scholarship funds and a chance to present their business at a trade show in June.