Chamber Insider Blog

Loudoun High Schooler Earns Top Honors in 2023 Young Entrepreneurs Academy Investor Pitch Competition

Press Release: Wednesday, April 26, 2023

$5,000 in Investments Awarded to Six Student Businesses in 7th Annual YEA! Business Plan Competition

Lansdowne, VA – The Loudoun Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Class of 2023 held its 7th Annual Investor Panel on April 18, 2023, where 24 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 16, 2023.

“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 2023 are:

$1,500 – Ethan Chisholm, St. Paul VI Catholic High School – NaTrail – NaTrail is a healthy, nut-free, and eco-friendly snack for the outdoors.

$1,000 – Pranav Kalidindi, Rockridge High School – Stress Relief Buddy – Stress Relief Buddy is an AI-based app to predict, detect, and reduce stress.

$1,000 – Mahima Atmavilas, Freedom High School – Topped with Love – Topped with Love is a baking business with allergen-friendly options.

$500 – Abhishek Shanbhag, Brambleton Middle School – Bizzlearn – Bizzlearn is a financial education company to empower our generation with a superpower.

$500 – Tapthi Arun, Rockridge High School – ClearSafe – ClearSafe is an eco-friendly, convenient water bottle with a detachable storage container.

$500 – Rhea Ganta & Sarina Virmani, Nysmith School – STEMtri – STEMtri plants a love of learning in everyone’s hearts through a gamified STEM education.

Th 2023 YEA! Investor Panelists were:

  • Casey Veatch of Veatch Commercial Real Estate and the Loudoun Economic Development Authority,
  • Courtney Sydnor is a Deputy County Attorney for Loudoun County and Counsel to the Loudoun Economic Development Authority,
  • Stephanie Nerantzis of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation,
  • Jeff Granger representing eSolytics LLC
  • Matthew Vahue from Financial Growth Partners
  • Dennis Peredo from PNC Bank,
  • Valerie Sayd from SeKON,
  • Jeff Powell from Strongbridge LLC.

Applications are now open for the Class of 2024 until June 12, 2023. More information can be found at

The Loudoun Young Entrepreneurs Academy is presented in partnership with Loudoun Economic Development Authority. Supporters include the Community Foundation of Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, Loudoun County Public Schools, Loudoun Youth, Loudoun County Department of Economic Development; Platinum Sponsor is Claude Moore Charitable Foundation; Investor Panel Sponsors, eSolytics LLC, Financial Growth Partners, PNC Bank, SeKON, Strongbridge LLC; Scholarship Sponsors, Backflow Technology, Clarke-Hook Corporation – Owners Group, Fortessa Tableware & Sterling Restaurant Supply, Morven Park Center for Civic Impact, Northwest Federal Credit Union/Northwest Federal Credit Union Foundation, You’ve Got Maids of Northern Virginia; CEO Roundtable Sponsor, CEO Consulting Group; Graduation Sponsor, Stryker Spine; YEA! Supporters: Conveyance Marketing Group, Dulles South Chantilly Automotive, Eyetopia, Inc. – The Eyewear Vault, PurposeWorX LLC.

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