Profiles of some Young Entrepreneurs Academy participants

YEA student Briana Elias.



Jared Sheader

Certainly the youngest and possibly the smartest in the program, 11-year-old Jared Sheader, a sixth-grader at Redlands Middle School, holds high expectations for the Young Entrepreneur Academy hosted by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I play a lot of video games,” Jared said. “I know what kids my age like.”

Jared said he wants to create a game like Minecraft, a computer video game in which players build structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, which evolve into wonderful, imaginative creations, but with a medieval theme.

“I was glad to hear the class will be progressing very fast, because I have a high IQ, like my father,” Jared said. “Most of the classes I attend are kind of a little slowed down and I lose interest in them.”

The young entrepreneur said he feels confident he will be able to finish out the academy because it will teach him the skills he needs to create the video game business he wants to grow.

Jared also wants a chance to win the $50,000 scholarship that only successful academy graduates become eligible for, he said.

Briana Elias

When she applied for the Young Entrepreneur Academy, 17-year-old Palisade High School senior Briana Elias told interviewers about one of the low points of her young life, the disappointment that comes from trying but failing to achieve a goal.

“In 10th grade, I auditioned for All-State Orchestra, but I didn’t make it,” Elias, a violinist, said. “And so then I practiced harder and last year, I got in.”

Elias’ willingness to try, try again was one of the qualities that she believes will help her succeed at the academy.

She wants to learn business strategies that will allow her to turn her idea for lightweight, sturdy luggage with many secure compartments, into a viable business.

“I’m excited to go on the field trips and see the different businesses and talk to them and see how they run their businesses,” she said.

And what about the chance for a $50,000 scholarship?

“Well, that would be a nice addition,” Elias said.


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