Driven by creativity and spirit, successful entrepreneurs must have business sense, funding, detailed plans and countless resources. For young entrepreneurs, the path is increasingly more difficult, as they determine the validity and potential of not only their ideas but also themselves in an already dense business arena.
Having been in the shoes of these young entrepreneurs, co-founders Joseph Scaretta and Moses Carrasco sought to provide access to resources not immediately available to them while launching Empire, now FrontStreet Facility Solutions. The pair believes in providing support to peers through capital and mentorship, creating the Long Island Young Entrepreneur Challenge (LI YEC) in 2012.
The LI YEC business pitch competition was open to entrepreneurs 17-22 years of age who either lived on Long Island or were enrolled as an undergraduate student at an accredited Long Island college or university. After submitting detailed business plans, finalists were provided mentorship and invited to present a live business pitch to a panel of esteemed judges, who later named one winner from each of the two categories – entrepreneur and student.
The winner from each track received $10,000 in startup funding and ongoing business mentorship, and FrontStreet watched the winners take off into their own, planning business openings and connecting with likeminded professionals. In 2014, the competition will open to the entire state, and FrontStreet looks forward to the increased competition of the New York Young Entrepreneurs Challenge (NY YEC) and the awareness the event will create for these promising newcomers.
2013 Entrepreneur Track Winner – Eric Forkosh, Smart EKG
During the 2013 LI YEC, Eric Forkosh detailed plans for the SmartEKG – a comfortable, personalized heart monitor. In addition to the funding, his team appreciated the mentorship received through the process and the opportunity to solidify a business model that then received valuable feedback from experienced professionals.
2013 Student Track Winner – Jesse Tang, Pink Nori Japanese Restaurant & Bar
In his second year participating in the challenge, Jesse Tang detailed new plans for Pink Nori Japanese Restaurant & Bar, which will feature authentic, fresh Japanese and Asian-inspired cuisine and a “make your own roll” option. The challenge helped Tang refine his skills for creating a comprehensive business plan backed by incredible passion, and he was thrilled to be able to apply his classroom-driven marketing skills into a real-world business setting.
“My idea would never have made it this far had I not had the opportunity to participate in the 2012 Long Island Young Entrepreneur Challenge. This is a truly wonderful program and opportunity for young entrepreneurs to set their ideas in motion.”
Rich Dallojacono, 2012 Entrepreneur Track Winner