Chamber Insider Blog

Loudoun High Schooler Earns Top Honors in 2022 Young Entrepreneurs Academy Investor Pitch Competition

$5,000 in Investments Awarded to Six Student Businesses in 6th Annual YEA! Business Plan Competition

Lansdowne, VA – The Loudoun Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Class of 2022 held its 6th Annual Investor Panel on March 24, 2022, where 22 local student entrepreneurs pitched their businesses and nonprofit startups to a panel of investors and local business leaders.

Presented by the Loudoun Chamber Foundation and the Loudoun Economic Development Authority, YEA! Loudoun is a 7-month program that teaches local middle and high school students how to develop, pitch and launch their very own small business.

Similar to the hit show “Shark Tank,” these student entrepreneurs competed for $5,000 in investment capital and the chance to represent Loudoun at the YEA! National Saunders Scholars Competition, which will be held virtually on June 4, 2022.

“Our Young Entrepreneurs worked very hard to develop their raw ideas into real, investment-worthy small businesses and nonprofits. They learned valuable skills about every area of entrepreneurship, including pitching their business plans to investors. These skills will serve them well, regardless of where their future education and career paths take them,” said Loudoun Chamber President Tony Howard.

The Investor Panel Winners for the Class of 2022 are:

  • $1,500 – William Just, Independence High School: Loudoun Candle (LoCA) – Loudoun Candle marketed as LoCA produces candles that have a connection to Loudoun.
  • $1,000 – Praggy Sangeetham, Stone Bridge High School & Priyanka Thaker, Lightridge High School: P Squared – P Squared is seeking to produce a safety attachment device.
  • $1,000 – Reem Khalil, Farmwell Station Middle School: TaVue – TaVue is the future of healthy skincare with chemical-free Rosewater.
  • $500 – Logan McMillon, Independence High School: HydroDripz – Selling customized hydro dipped gaming accessories.
  • $500 – Michael Tiger Combest, Mercer Middle School: Happy Cone Sno Ball Shop – Self-serve New Orleans style sno-cones.
  • $500 – Samhita Kotamraju, Farmwell Station Middle School: VizMe – A visualization software that eliminates the ‘one image for all sizes’ concept in e-commerce clothing stores.

The 2022 YEA! Investor Panelists were:

  • Alice Frazier of BCT-The Community’s Bank and the Loudoun Economic Development Authority,
  • Bernard Mustafa of WB20 and Chair of the Loudoun Economic Development Authority,
  • Jack Vega of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation,
  • Jeff Webster from PNC Bank,
  • Valerie Sayd from SeKON,
  • Larry Melton from The Building People,
  • Scott Loftis from Wells Fargo.

Applications are now open for the Class of 2023. More information can be found at

The Loudoun Young Entrepreneurs Academy is presented in partnership with Loudoun Economic Development Authority. Supporters include Loudoun County Public Schools, Loudoun Youth, Mason Enterprise Center/SBDC, Loudoun County Department of Economic Development; Platinum Sponsor is Claude Moore Charitable Foundation; Investor Panel Sponsors, The Building People, SeKON, PNC Bank; Scholarship Sponsors, Backflow Technology, Clarke-Hook Corporation – Owners Group, Fortessa Tableware & Sterling Restaurant Supply, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Northwest Federal Credit Union/Northwest Federal Credit Union Foundation; CEO Roundtable Sponsor, CEO Consulting Group; Graduation Sponsor, Stryker Spine; Media Partner, Loudoun Times-Mirror.

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Photo: William Just of Independence High School was the winner of the top prize at the 2022 YEA! Investor Panel. William is pictured here with Tony Howard, President & CEO of the Loudoun Chamber, and the YEA! Class of 2022 instructors, Chris Ricci, Kindra Dionne and Eric Byrd. (photo: Blue Lion Multimedia)