Vaughn advances to Saunders Scholars Competition

By Bryan Navarette
A-J Media

Frenship Middle School student Blake Vaughn believed his mom when she told him his business was impressive, and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) agreed.

The seventh-grader and CEO of Compass Phone Cases was selected by an investor panel of local business leaders to compete in the Saunders Scholars Competition on May 5 in Rochester, New York.

“I was really excited to win,” Vaughn said. “I thought maybe one of the other 12 businesses would get it, but my mom told me that my presentation was the best. So, I believed her.”

“It’s very exciting getting to go to New York, and just to be there with all the semifinalists.”

Vaughn put in the work to advance to the scholars competition, having to make sure every detail of his presentation was ready to be pitched to investors April 5 at the Helen DeVitt Jones Auditorium and Sculpture Court.

“It took a lot of work,” Vaughn said. “Just putting together the business and making sure that I had everything ready for the investor panel and perfecting my speech cards, my PowerPoint and business plan.”

Vaughn’s business is Compass Phone Cases, which produces 3-D-printed phone cases. The idea came to Vaughn after brainstorming different ways to make cases.

“I wanted something that was smooth and protective and you could pull it out of your pocket easily and it wasn’t rubbery like cases are,” Vaughn said. “So, I thought it would be a great idea.”

He was one of 16 students among 12 businesses who pitched their ideas to the local investors, who awarded start-up money to every business.

According to its website, the YEA! program — which is ran locally by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce — is a groundbreaking and exciting program that transforms local middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs.

The website reads: “Through the yearlong program, students in grades six-12 generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors and launch their very own companies.”

The Saunders Scholars Competition brings together the top student businesses from each YEA! class around the country to compete to win scholarship dollars and business start-up prize packages.

Vaughn has high hopes for his business.

“I really want to continue this business and keep it running for a long time,” he said.

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