By: Dale King Contributing Writer
With the arrival of summer and vacation days, most South Florida high school students have made plans for their time off. Traveling, relaxing, working or summer school are on most agendas.
But Rhea Jain, who is just finishing her junior year at Pine Crest High in Fort Lauderdale, has a major effort in store. By summer’s end, she plans to launch her own company, Renoosh, an upscale petite clothing line.
Her venture won first place honors in the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneur Academy Investor Panel Competition April 10. That earned her the right to present her concepts at the YEA Regional Competition in Rochester, N.Y., where she placed in the top six out of 50 contestants.
“It went well; I had to make my presentation three times,” said the teen, a resident of Weston, who climbed the ladder of success in the competition until six finalists were left. “The audience voted on who would stay.”
Rhea said she was a bit nervous as the program began, but she soon settled down to discuss the nuts and bolts of her clothing line.
“It was especially interesting to hear from the other competitors about their businesses,” she added.
The local contest in April involved the 20 students who’d spent the previous 25 weeks learning the ins and outs of business development as part of the Boca Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy 2019.
The school year-long effort ended with the opportunity to present the details of their plans to an investor panel in “Shark Tank’-style. The contest offered the would-be business men and women a chance to explain their commercial proposals in hopes of earning a financial stake to get their enterprises off the ground.
Rhea – who is petite herself – said that since she was in middle school, “I’ve had difficulty finding clothing that fit right. I ended up spending more on alterations than on the items themselves.”
She said her own styles are geared to women age 18 to 35. She told the investors at the Boca competition how she designed the pieces in her clothing line which were then manufactured in New York. The nine pieces in her ensemble can be rearranged to create 20 outfits.
YEA is a program that falls under the Boca Chamber’s Golden Bell Education Fund. Its direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents to view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom.
Sherese James-Grow, who heads up the YEA effort, said that during a nine-month period of the school year, students work in cooperation with local industry leaders, community members and educators to generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans and launch their own companies. Rhea said she began her effort nearly three years ago with guidance from her mother.
The Advanced Placement student at Pine Crest said she’ll spend the summer preparing her business start-up, and has a couple of other projects to keep her busy.
After graduation next year, Rhea plans to move on to college to major in business and computer science and minor in economics.
For more information about YEA or to become a sponsor, visit yeausa.org or firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 561-395-4433, extension 232.