Three Take Top Honors At Boca Chamber ‘Elevator Pitch’ Contest

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‘Shark Tank’-style finals in April to complete YEA year

By: Dale King Contributing Writer

If Devin Willis gets his way in the entrepreneurial world, he promises to create a “SlideMap” to “increase the speed of cancer diagnoses.” In brief, it involves adding an app to your phone to provide feedback to the medical community.

The idea earned Willis first place honors at the 2018 CEO Round Table and Elevator Pitch Contest sponsored by the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce.

The event is the next-to-the-last major activity offered to the more than two dozen young, budding business men and women involved in the Chamber-sponsored Young Entrepreneur’s Academy (YEA), now in its seventh year.

The 30-week, after-school program allows students to meet with and learn from mentors involved in the local business community, said Chamber President and CEO Troy McLellan. “It walks students through the process of setting-up of a business,” he noted. “The program involves a whole host of sponsors and volunteers.”

It is part of the Chamber’s Golden Bell Scholarship Fund which has distributed more than $1.4 million to Boca Raton schools since it was founded in 1991.

The Elevator Pitch match gives all YEA participants up to 90 seconds each to explain their business and product to an audience of business-minded individuals and other guests.

In April, the YEA program will conclude with a competition for top students in the class, giving them several minutes to explain their ideas, using graphics and samples. The activity, conducted in a “Shark Tank”-style motif, will again be held in the auditorium at the Raton-based headquarters of Office Depot.

Second- and third-place finishers were named in the competition held Feb. 7 in the Dr. Albert Cohen Family Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton.

Taking second was Anya Al-Salem whose company, Terra Ku, finds new uses for discarded plastic. Third place went to Anaya Shintre, head of Air Charge, a firm that creates wireless chargers for electronic devices.

Others who took part were: William Lane, Joseph Lee and Andrew Stephenson of Alpha Sports; Daniel Abramson of Beat Battles; Stefano Ciccolella promoting Blackout Pillows; Macy Goldberg pitching Box O’ Treats; Chayanne Kelly from Camellia Botanicals; Mason Pace from EZ Drums; Alejandra Rodriguez from Game in a Sack; Jack Flittner and Samuel Yingling with Hot Swapz Shoes and Natalya Jewelewicz from Infinity Wing.

Also: Emily Parra, CEO of Klever Kids English Buddies; Brody Pellegrino from Never Miss; Casey Hill with Piston Trainers; Maxwell Simonson with Price Drop; Martand Agarwal, Daniella Paz and Olivia Vaccarello from Puppy Packs; Ethan Milrad from Quick Slip Drumstick Grips; Nicolas Herbert with Quokka; Michael Shoichet and Charlotte Silver with Simply Focused Energy Gum; Jack Levine from Super Swing; Anwar Maroun with Tanks a Lot and Garret Goodman from Taste Tags.

Moderator was Tara Auclair, senior marketing manager, Modernizing Medicine. Contest judges were Robert Frare, CEO of Growth Consulting Services; Catherine Meehan, IBM Business Partner Marketing, Security and Lisa Rodriguez, assistant manager, CenterState Bank.

Students also had an opportunity to question CEO’s from six local regional businesses.