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Chamber Names Local Saunders Scholar Winner

Moorhead, Minn. (March 30, 2017) – The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber hosted a successful Investor Panel Shark Tank event on Tuesday as part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program. Bridget McManamon, a junior at Moorhead High School, took first place in the competition for her business, Herstory, receiving the most funding and advancing to the YEA! semi-finals.

Held on March 28 at Concordia College’s Offutt School of Business, a panel of investors from local businesses heard pitches from 17 local high school and middle school students who competed for real funding from the panel. McManamon was chosen to move on and will be among more than 100 students nationally selected to compete in the Saunders Scholars Competition in New York in May. There, entrepreneurs will compete for the opportunity to advance to nationals to win college scholarships ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, an all-expenses paid trip to America’s Small Business Summit hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and business startup prizes. 

YEA!, founded and headquartered in Rochester, New York, offers programs in over 110 communities across the United States. During the course of the YEA! program, which spans 30 weeks of an academic year, students work closely with business leaders, community leaders and educators to guide them as they learn to transform ideas into real, tangible companies that create economic and social value. The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber is the first and only organization to host a YEA! program in North Dakota and one of few in the entire Midwest.

Herstory is a membership-based organization that serves to raise awareness and distribute menstrual hygiene products to local students that otherwise do not have access to them. McManamon has already received a $3,000 grant for her business and has been able to make a donation of hygiene packages to women in need in Africa.

“The Young Entrepreneurs Academy has been such an amazing experience,” McManamon said. “Some of my favorite parts have been working with my mentor Veronica Michael from the Impact Foundation and hearing from business leaders throughout our community. I have learned so much from this program and I have no doubt the skills and knowledge I have gained will be applied in my future. I am super excited to have won, I put a lot of work into my business and I really enjoyed getting to share it with the investors.”

Other students in the local YEA! program include:

-Taranvir Johal, Oak Grove High School, Protein+
-Chase Monson, Fargo South High School, Greasel
-Habiba Heshmat, Davies High School, Heshmarks
-Josh Gronneberg, Davies High School, EvoManage
-Evan Ohren, Cheney Middle School, E’s Clothing
-Connor Dahlvang, Davies High School, Quick Shopper
-Anushka Sikdar, Cheney Middle School, Light the Way Corp.
-Chase Ohren, Cheney Middle School, Chillingtons
-Fardosa Hassan, West Fargo High School, Reves Doux Patisserie
-Derek Phelps, Davies High School, The Greenhouse
-Max Lavitschke, West Fargo High School, TekLite Software
-Assraa Al-abase, Cheney Middle School, Viz
-Joanna Lin, Davies High School, Ecopotz
-Logan Heger, Cheney Middle School, Dry Kicks
-Cooper Chwialkowski & Tanner Paler, West Fargo High School, MN Pro

Josh Teigen, president of Protosthetics, served as the students’ instructor throughout the year. Dan Michaels, president of Dan Michaels Audio, Mix 101.9 talk show host and public address announcer for NDSU Bison football games, emceed the event. The presenting sponsor of the program is Cornerstone Bank. 

“Cornerstone Bank is proud to have been the presenting sponsor of the YEA! program since its inception,” Jeff Thomas, SVP - Market President at Cornerstone Bank, said. “At Cornerstone Bank, it is our vision to help more people make important decisions about their money, and one of our values is that we value our role as neighbors and contributors, and YEA! is a great example of both of these. In supporting the YEA! program we are helping educate future leaders in our community the importance of financial management, planning and corporate responsibility. It is amazing to watch these young men and women grow over the course of the 30-week program.”

Applications for the next YEA! class are currently being accepted. Interested students are encouraged to learn more and apply at fmwfchamber.com/YEA.

About The Chamber
The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce is a bi-state, regional federation of more than 2,100 private, public and non-profit member firms representing more than 109,000 people. The largest local chamber in North Dakota and Minnesota, The Chamber advocates for a strong metropolitan community and supports the interests of its members, which are located in Cass and Clay Counties and beyond.

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