Local teen entrepreneurs will present the business they have created and a social issue they are supporting — like mental health, breast cancer, and gun violence — at the CEOs of Tomorrow’s 8th annual Pitch & Launch Event on Saturday, Dec. 11, noon-4 pm. Students from CEOs of Tomorrow’s Incubator Program talked with Madison365 about their businesses, products, and experiences in the Incubator Program.
Sowmya Rajana, a junior at Middleton High School, has a business called “Never” and is working to raise awareness about mental health. She is selling candles because the aromas can help with depression, anxiety, and stress. This issue is important to Sowmya because her family has lost someone due to mental health.
“I chose mental health because in the Asian community and in general, depressions is something that is really hard to talk about. Some of my friends who are Asian, they can’t really talk about their mental health towards their parents. You can’t really like go out and say, ‘Yo, I have depression, I need help’. It just does not work like that. And I decided to make a business about that and donate a percentage to a place where they help people who lost someone due to mental health.”
Kalin Allen, a senior at Madison East High School, said that with her business, “Wearing Out Cancer,” she wants to address breast cancer. She will be selling clothing including customized t-shirts and caps. Kalin’s aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, and she wants to raise awareness about the disease.
“She’s the main reason why I wanted to start this business,” said Allen.
Saanvi Gandhari, a freshman participant, created her business, “Education is Key,” which addresses the social issue of access to education. With her business, she will be selling Christmas cookies.
“One of my friends was unable to afford a club or able to go to a specific field trip or something like that. I wanted to donate money to an education fund. So, people still have an opportunity to get these amazing classes and clubs that they might not be able to access,” Saanvi says.
Amari Sherman is a freshman at Middleton High School who is using his business “Guns Down, Hearts Up,” to address gun violence, will be selling inspirational clothing to raise awareness about the issues of gun violence and gun control.
“What inspired my business is in the name,” said Sherman. “It’s because my social issue is gun violence and gun control. My business says to put your guns down and raise awareness. So, hearts up.”
The students talked about being nervous and excited to present their businesses at the event. Many of them are learning and growing in the program and want to come back and work with CEOs of Tomorrow whenever they can.
“They’re amazing people that help you with everything,” said Rajana. “And not only is it good for college, but it’s a new experience for yourself. As a high schooler, you want to know where you want to go into the future. And this is one path you can go to explore that.”
To register for the Pitch & Launch Virtual event, click here. CEOs of Tomorrow is partnering with Paco’s Tacos and La Taguara, offering Pitch & Launch Meal Packages to enjoy during the event. $5 from each meal sold will go towards supporting CEOs of Tomorrow’s youth entrepreneurship programming. The deadline to order the meals is Friday, Dec. 3. Click here to order.