Young Entrepreneur Academy Investor Panel Winner Named

Apr 11, 2017

Young Entrepreneurs Seek Funding for Startups “Shark Tank Style”

Jessica Cedillo, a 16-year-old student who attends Pacifica High School in Garden Grove won the top business award at the StandUp For Kids’ Young Entrepreneur (YEA!) Investor Panel. Not only does she receive $1,200 to launch her business but also she will be going to Rochester, New York on May 7 – 8 to compete amongst 26 YEA! participants from across the nation.

Each participant proposed a business plan that included financial strategies, marketing plans, selling and general operations in front of a panel of investors that took place at The Cove, located at the University of California, Irvine.

“I am excited to go to New York, I have never been but I was mostly excited to win because of my mom, everything I did was for her,” said Jessica Cedillo. “My business initials stand for my mother’s name, it is dedicated to her.”

Cedillo was inspired by her mother; a 23-year-old college student who got kicked out of her home after becoming pregnant and had to drop out of college. She devoted her life to her daughter, which has given Cedillo many opportunities and motivated her to succeed in life.

Cedillo proposed The BB Organization, a non-profit dedicated to help young mothers with resources such as job and resume building workshops, completing education such as trade schools or college, confidence building, parenting and to provide opportunities for themselves and their babies.

“I was so impressed with Jessica because you can tell she put a huge amount of time and thought into her business plan and I know she will carry the same confidence when she competes,” said Investor Panel Presentation guest Zaira Becerra.

Cedillo is a community service advocate, where she has volunteered over 3,000 hours. She is currently an Orange County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Sergeant, which has motivated her to pursue a career in in criminal justice and political science within the FBI.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy 
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 501(C) 3 offering groundbreaking year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors for startup funds, and launch and run their own, fully formed companies and social movements. The project-based program empowers students to take charge of their futures.

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! today serves thousands of students nationwide. In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders.

YEA! bridges the business and educational communities to fulfill its mission of teaching more students how to make a job, not just take a job. YEA! is made possible by The Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. For more information, visit

StandUp For Kids 
STANDUP FOR KIDS (SUFK), founded in 1990, is a national non-profit organization whose target population is assisting homeless and at risk individuals between the ages of 12 and 24. Our core mission is to end the cycle of youth homelessness. Trained counselors help find, stabilize, and assist homeless and at-risk kids to attain productive and fulfilling lives off the streets. Our organization’s focus is on prevention, outreach support, transitional housing and providing an array of resources and services to help homeless and at-risk youth on their journey to becoming self-sufficient adults.

The SUFK – Orange County Chapter was launched in 2003. In 2016, Orange County volunteers logged over 1,400 incidences of support and over 5,000 hours of service. From a youth support standpoint, 63 were provided housing support, and over 250 were tutored and/or assisted with figuring out their educational goals.