On January 28, 2016, NAWBO Chicago and the Enterprising Women Foundation held the first annual Chicago Young Enterprising Women Mentoring Tea at Catalyst Ranch, 656 W. Randolph from 4:30 – 6:30 pm. The event benefited the Chicago Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) and provided scholarships for two outstanding Chicago high school girls to attend Enterprising Women of the Year Awards Celebration & Conference at The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida on Feb 28 – March 1, 2016.
Brianna Madrigal, a student at Northside College Prep (YEA! Class of 2014-2015), and Kiana Griffin, a student at Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago (YEA! Class of 2015-2016), were the recipients of the two scholarships that were awarded. Brianna is the co-founder of Sisters for Change, a mentoring program matching high school girls with elementary and middle school girls. Kiana Griffin is the founder of Purity by K, which will manufacture and distribute organic cleansers and scrubs.
The event featured a panel of outstanding women entrepreneurs whose success celebrated and inspired the next generation of young entrepreneurs while promoting STEAM entrepreneurship for young women. Speakers included: Katie Hench, Infiniteach; Monica Metzler, Illinois Service Council; Bo Peng, Datascope; Dr Anitha Rao-Frisch, Neurocern; Dima Elissa, VisMed 3D; Heather Claxton-Douglas, Science Solved L3C; and, Eva Niewiadomski, Catalyst Ranch.
Students from the NAWBO Chicago YEA! program submitted questions for the panelists. Questions that were selected were delivered by students from the current YEA! class of 2015-2016.
Adults that registered for the event were matched with students attending elementary and high school. After the panel discussion was completed the matched pairs continued sharing ideas and experiences.
YEA! Is a groundbreaking yearlong educational and mentorship program that takes students in grades six through twelve through the process of starting and running a REAL business. NAWBO Chicago partners with DePaul University. Key sponsors of the tea included IBM, UBM Facility Services and Catalyst Ranch.
The national program began in 2004 at the University of Rochester and serves thousands of students across the country with 20 percent of YEA! graduates starting a second business or organization soon after graduation. Students work closely with local business leaders to cultivate and research business ideas, write a business plan, pitch their plan to a panel of investors, obtain funding, develop their brand, participate in a tradeshow at the end of the year and actually launch their enterprise. NAWBO Chicago is currently running its second cohort.