Two D211 Alumnae Win Scholarships from Palatine’s Women in Business Advisory Forum

Two District 211 alumnae recently received scholarships from the Palatine’s Women in Business Advisory Forum (WIBAF).

Kathleen McManus

Nina Vrtjak

Palatine High School Alumna Kathleen McManus and Fremd High School Alumna Nina Vrtjak each received $1,000 from the Palatine Chamber of Commerce group. The non-renewable funds will go toward college tuition, fees, books, or supplies.

To be eligible for the scholarship, female students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher, with the intent of attending a two-year or four-year college or university to earn a degree in a business-related field. Other criteria considered by the judges included business coursework in high school, employment experience, clubs/activities/service/volunteer roles, two short response questions, and two letters of recommendation.

Kathleen, the recipient from Fremd High School, will be attending University of Alabama where she plans to major in Marketing. Kathleen’s many activities in high school ranged from clubs to theater groups to the competitive dance team. Kathleen has been working in marketing while attending high school through an internship in digital media—a position she earned through a networking connection formed in her Business Incubator class at Fremd.

Nina Vrtjak, the recipient from Palatine High School, will be attending University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she will be majoring in Accounting. Nina’s application demonstrated a strong combination of coursework and employment experience and she was also very involved in clubs and athletics at Palatine High School. One of Nina’s essays described a mentoring relationship she built as part of her Small Business Incubator class—which truly relates to the relationships built by members of the WIBAF networking group. Nina plans to study accounting, which she describes as being like a “jigsaw puzzle” because there is always “an answer that adds up.”

This year’s scholarship committee volunteers included WIBAF members Joan Scovic from Palatine Park District (committee chair), Fay Ellen Buican of HomeSmart, Deb Gabriel with Edward Jones, Amanda Kamick from Sport-Clips – Palatine, and Alex Looff with Signs By Tomorrow – Arlington Heights. Funds for the 2016-2017 scholarship program were raised through a fashion show fundraiser and raffle prize drawings offered at WIBAF’s monthly networking luncheons.




Young Entrepreneurs Academy Available to D211 Students

YEA! AcademyEmbrace your passion. Live your dream. Change the world. That is the mission behind the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), a program that takes high school students through the process of starting and running a real business during the course of an academic year. The program, sponsored by the Palatine Chamber of Commerce, is open to all High School District 211 students, with those interested being encouraged to submit an application.

Beginning this fall, High School District 211 students will again have the unique opportunity to start and launch their own real businesses or social movements by participating in the program. Over the course of the year, students will brainstorm ideas, write business plans, pitch their plans to a group of investors, obtain funding, launch their enterprise and actually sell their products or services. Along the way, they will file paperwork with the County Clerk’s office and work with business professionals to, among other things, build a brand identity and create a website. Students will also hear from local business owners and participate in a Trade Show.

YEA! started at the University of Rochester in 2004, and began as a weekly class taught on the university campus. The program has since expanded to other colleges, chambers of commerce, and high schools. YEA! will be offered again in District 211 with classes beginning in November 2014. Applications are now being accepted for the 2014-2015 YEA! class.  Please download an application here.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Mindy Phillips, Palatine Chamber of Commerce, at (847) 359-7200 or mphillips@palatinechamber.com. Additional information also is available on the organization’s main website.

 




District 211 Students Closer to Business Careers after Graduating from Young Entrepreneurs Academy

YEA!

YEA! students and Syal (seated center) listen to Mario Tricoci, famous hair stylist and entrepreneur, during a field trip.

When Palatine High School student Yash Syal enrolled in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) as a sophomore, he didn’t know what to expect. With an overall interest in business, Syal figured the YEA! Program was going to be an extra curricular course to prepare him for a more advanced level of study.

It didn’t take long for him to figure out it was much more.

Syal first heard of the Palatine Chamber of Commerce sponsored program from a teacher at Palatine High School. Students who were not involved in extra-curricular activities or athletics were encouraged to enroll in the program, and he could no longer play football due to injuries. It seemed like the perfect time to explore his interest in business.

“I didn’t know that as kids in high school we could accomplish something like making a business, and this program has brought that to life in a way I did not expect,” Syal said.

Syal isn’t the only student that benefitted from the YEA! Program this year. The YEA! Program takes high school students through the process of starting and running their own business during the course of an academic year. Working with business-owners in the community, students take an idea and turn it into a full-functioning business.  The program helps students in all aspects, from planning to manufacturing and marketing.

Students even participate in competitions with their business. Conant High School student Ben Kusswurm was chosen by an Investor Panel to represent YEA! at the National Saunders Scholar Competition in Rochester, NY. His company, Beneficial Industries, proposed the creation of an app that would replace a normal plastic ID badge on a smartphone.

Now that the 2012-2013 YEA! class has graduated, students are already looking toward the future. Syal said he will continue to take business electives at Palatine High School and would recommend the program to any of his friends who are interested in pursuing a business venture in their future. He said students shouldn’t consider this as an easy extra course.

YEA! graduates (from left to right): Zoe Ivanov- Plan N’ Go (Fremd HS); Vinutha Lakshminarayanan- Insta-Tution (Conant HS); Joseph Dahm- MiNetwork (Conant HS); Ben Kusswurm- Beneficial Industries (Conant HS); Shivam Malik- Insta-Tution (Conant HS); Denzel Ray- Rize Industries (Palatine HS); NOT PICTURED: Connor Curran- The Bungee Belt (St. Viator); Yash Syal- The Bungee Belt (Palatine HS); Ryan Chang- Fold’em Buds (Fremd HS); Megan Stella- Genuine Arts (Palatine HS)

YEA! graduates (from left to right): Zoe Ivanov- Plan N’ Go (Fremd HS); Vinutha Lakshminarayanan- Insta-Tution (Conant HS); Joseph Dahm- MiNetwork (Conant HS); Ben Kusswurm- Beneficial Industries (Conant HS); Shivam Malik- Insta-Tution (Conant HS); Denzel Ray- Rize Industries (Palatine HS); NOT PICTURED: Connor Curran- The Bungee Belt (St. Viator); Yash Syal- The Bungee Belt (Palatine HS); Ryan Chang- Fold’em Buds (Fremd HS); Megan Stella- Genuine Arts (Palatine HS)

“You have to do a lot of work, but the work pays off because at every turn there is someone to help you,” he said. “It is great to have ideas and be able to portray them to people who can actually put them into place and get your business going.”

The YEA! Program runs from October through May, and classes are once a week after school. Students are encouraged to apply during the summer. To register for the YEA! program or for more information, please visit the website here.

These District 211 students created the following businesses and graduated from the YEA! program:

Zoe Ivanov- Plan N’ Go (Fremd High School);

Vinutha Lakshminarayanan- Insta-Tution (Conant High School);

Joseph Dahm- MiNetwork (Conant High School);

Ben Kusswurm- Beneficial Industries (Conant High School);

Shivam Malik- Insta-Tution (Conant High School);

Denzel Ray- Rize Industries (Palatine High School);

Connor Curran- The Bungee Belt (St. Viator High School);

Yash Syal- The Bungee Belt (Palatine High School);

Ryan Chang- Fold’em Buds (Fremd High School);

Megan Stella- Genuine Arts (Palatine High School)




17 Students Closer to Becoming Entrepreneurs in YEA! Program

Students learn the process of starting and running a real business during the course of an academic year.

Seventeen students from Township High School District 211 were selected to participate in the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA!) class of 2013. This yearlong program is being held at Palatine High School and guides high school students through launching their own real business or social movement.

The program takes high school students through the process of starting and running a real business during the course of an academic year. It is sponsored by the Palatine Chamber of Commerce and is open to all High School District 211 students with those interested being encouraged to submit an application.

YEA! kicked off the year with new instructors John Udelhofen of Blue Star International, LLC, and Hank Sobotka of Palatine Bank & Trust. Students are given weekly instruction based on the course curriculum, and will be challenged with all components of starting a business off right, while learning from several local entrepreneurs and guest speakers. Students also take class field trips to businesses to see real-world application of their class studies. Class meets every Wednesday evening from October through May.

“We are overwhelmed by the support that YEA! is receiving from District 211 and our business community,” said Mindy Phillips, director of the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce. “We have 17 outstanding students participating in our YEA! program and more than 35 businesses volunteering their money, time, and expertise.”

If you want to learn more about how to become involved in YEA! as a mentor or volunteer, please contact Mindy Phillips at the Palatine Chamber 847-359-7200.