MANSFIELD — On Saturday, June 26, teens from around the country will compete to see who will be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) 13th annual Saunders Scholars National Competition.

The Shark Tank style pitch competition will award over $80,000 in cash prizes and college scholarships to the Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology to the students with the best businesses in the U.S. Local viewers will be able to cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award.

This year 22 semifinalists will compete virtually representing middle and high schools from 13 states across the United States and India for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and a People’s Choice Award.

For the second year, the competition will be live broadcast from Rochester, New York ABC-TV WHAM Channel 13 and will be streamed live over the web and able to be seen worldwide on YEA!’s YouTube channel and on Facebook live.

Students enrolled in the YEA! program first competed locally in front of an investor panel earlier this year. The top business from each YEA! chapter across the country will now compete head-to-head in semi-final and final rounds at the Saunders Scholars National Competition to take place throughout the day on Saturday, June 26 from noon until 4:30 p.m., with the national winner announcements at 5:55 p.m.

The local semi-finalist, 18-year-old Caleb Keller of Mansfield has been selected by local judges to advance to the National Competition for his start-up business, Pathify.

Keller participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy seven-month youth entrepreneurship program presented by and in partnership with the Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development and the Mansfield-Richland Area Educational Foundation.

With the help of local entrepreneurs and business leaders, the student designed, pitched, and launched Pathify, a delivery routing program that will help reduce expenses and increase efficiency for businesses.

The local student will be pitching via multiple online options live in Panel 1, scheduled to run from noon to 1:30 p.m., local time. To support Keller as he competes, here are the options to watch:

You can register online free for updates and information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/144699709727

Facebook Live on YEA!’s official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/yeausa

YouTube Live: http://www.youtube.com/c/YoungEntrepreneursAcademy

Live on YEA!’s official website: http://www.yeausa.org/

During the Finals, the audience does have the ability to vote for the People’s Choice Award. There are two ways that you can vote for your favorite finalist.

Text-to-Vote phone number is 505-392-5681. Standard texting rates apply.

If you text, you would text 1 to 505-392-5681 to vote for Finalist #1, text 2 to vote for Finalist #2, etc.

To vote online via web browser: http://www.yeausa.org/vote/

This year’s Saunders Scholars National Competition is sponsored in part by the E. Philp Saunders Foundation, Southwest Airlines, and the Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“We could not be more proud of the work these young people are doing and of our partners who are leading the charge across the Country delivering YEA!’s entrepreneurship education,” said YEA! founder and CEO, Gayle Jagel.

“Our local Chambers of Commerce, incubators, accelerators, universities, colleges and K12 partners who come together through YEA! are igniting the sparks of innovation in the entire community. Just imagine what our world would look like if every student got the chance to bring their ideas to life.”

YEA! Richland is currently accepting applications for the class of 2022. There are upcoming information sessions planned throughout the summer and fall. To find those dates, please follow YEA Richland on Facebook and Instagram.

If you would like to take part in the upcoming class, applications can be found at yeausa.org with a due date of Sept. 17. All questions about the program can be directed to Program Manager, Nikki Lewis, at the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development.

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