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Pitching a Winner

High School senior doing schoolwork on laptop outside

University View Academy senior Mateo Chaney-Martinez received $2,400 in seed funding for his business Smart Start University from an Investor Panel with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge or YEA BR.   

His Smart Start University uses online meetings due to the pandemic.  He coaches other students in time management, public speaking, and interpersonal leadership, which he learned from reading self-help books.  Mateo realized he would need help growing the business and applied to YEA B.  The academy transforms high school students into entrepreneurs.

Students launch their own companies by generating business ideas tied to their interests, writing business plans, filing businesses with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, and even pitching a Shark-Tank-like investor panel for seed funding.  It’s under the instruction of the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business.  YEA BR is a chapter of the national YEA organization founded to unlock young, aspiring entrepreneurs’ potential.  Mateo was one of 19 accepted of the 38 who applied.

Developing the courses for his website, smartstartuniversity.com, is his focus as he participates in YEA BR this year.  “YEA is really open to ideas and exploring how viable they can be,” he explained. 

After graduating from UVA in May, Mateo plans to attend the University of Alabama on a scholarship to double-major in Public Relations and Leadership Studies. 


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