Shark Tank, Wegmans and Cuba: YEA! Grads Continue to Make Headlines

Maura Donahue and YEA! Graduates.jpeg

From left to right: Spencer and Tanner Harrison, the CEOs of Campfire Industries; Maura Donohue, U.S. Chamber board member; Rachel Zietz, CEO of GladiatorLacrosse; and Brandon Boynton, CEO of MostBeastlyStudios. Photo by Ian Wagreich.


Rachel Zietz, a 2014 YEA! grad and CEO of Gladiator Lacrosse, is scheduled to appear on ABC's "Shark Tank" in May.
2006 YEA! graduate Sheel Tyle joined President Obama in Cuba with other CEOs.

Graduates of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) have been busy in recent months growing their businesses, striking key partnerships, and even preparing for high-profile television appearances. 

From lacrosse equipment to yummy baked goods, YEA! grads have launched a wide array of great companies, which are now making headlines across the country. 

Here are some recent highlights. 

  • Rachel Zietz, a 2014 YEA! graduate, is scheduled to appear on ABC's "Shark Tank" on May 13 at 9 p.m. Her company, Gladiator Lacrosse, has surpassed more than $1 million in sales. Rachel is a graduate of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce YEA! program. Stay tuned for information about Shark Tank watch parties in your area. 
  • In March, Gladiator Lacrosse announced it partnered with pro lacrosse player Casey Powell on a signature lacrosse goal and training rebounder. 
  • Sheel Tyle, a 2006 YEA! graduate, joined President Obama on his history visit to Cuba in March. Now a venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Tyle joined with other company CEOs in discussing the power of entrepreneurship. 
  • The Wolf 'Em Stick, made by 2013 YEA! graduates Tanner and Spencer Harrison, is now available in 88 Wegmans supermarkets nationwide. The product allows campers to cook special biscuits over a fire, and has proven popular enought that the Utah-based Harrison brothers expects $1 million in sales before they graduate from high school. The Wolf 'Em Stick is in more than 200 retailers overall. 
  • Krish Sivarajah, a graduate of the YEA! Frisco, TX Chamber of Commerce class, took part in the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair and is advancing to the Texas State Science and Engineering Competition. Sivarajah got 2nd place in the senior division Engineering Mechanics competition in Dallas and was recognized at the . He was recognized at the DRSEF Award Banquet on March 22nd.
  • 2014 YEA! graduate Emie Dunagan was profiled by Louisville television station WLKY for the growth of her baking business, Em's Delight. Her cakes and pastries are available in stores throughout the Louisville area and she has plans to open a storefront and food truck. 
  • Kelly Brunson, a recent graduate of the YEA! class supported by the Somerset Pulaski Chamber of Commerce in Kentucky, will be skipping her last two years of high school to attend Morehead State University's Craft Academy. The academy is institution for academically exceptional Kentucky students gifted in science and mathematics. 

Saunders Scholars Competition is Heating Up

While YEA! grads have been busy running their companies, new aspiring entrepreneurs have been pitching their ideas to investor panels across the country. Local chambers of commerce have hosted regional competitions as part of the Saunders Scholars Competition. Local winners will go on to the national semifinals in Rochester, NY on May 6. Finalists will then go on to present their ideas at the America's Small Business Summit, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on June 6. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is proud to be a national sponsor and partner of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). The USCCF supports YEA!'s mission to educate youth on the free enterprise system and its vital place in the American economy.