Nir Pechuk of Redmond Middle School advanced to the 11th annual Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Saunders Scholars National Semi-Finals College Scholarship competition last month in Rochester, New York. He won second prize at the national competition.
A panel of judges made up of investors selected Pechuk, who pitched his business, Extentek, at the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce YEA! event on March 20. His company aims to offer a contactless material level-indication device to help people who are blind or visually impaired to pour any substance into a container without over-pouring. Pechuk was inspired by the desire to help his grandmother who is visually impaired.
“There are over 280 million blind and visually impaired people in the world,” Pechuk said in a press release. “That’s about [one in] every 23 [people]. Less than 1 percent of them can effectively pour water. I am determined to help people like my grandma be independent again.”
The investor panel awarded $4,100 to the student-run companies to help them with the start-up costs through the Bellevue Chamber Foundation. Pechuk was chosen to represent Bellevue and to advance to the national competition.
YEA! is an educational program that takes students in grades six through 12 through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year. Students work in close cooperation with local leaders of industry, community members and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity, and more. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully functioning businesses that can be carried on after graduation.