Want to be like Maxx? Apply now!

7/13/2016 | TACOMA, Washington

​Ever wanted to start your own business? Got a great idea for an invention or product? Are you in grade 6-12? Want to be like Maxx?

Who’s Maxx, you ask?

On June 13, Maxx Stewart of Meeker Middle School won the national entrepreneur of the year award and a prize package including a $30,000 college scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology Saunders College of Business. The prize also included business start-up services from Toshiba and Blue Tie. The competition took place at America's Small Business Summit, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Maxx’s entry, a company he founded called Spyder Grypz, sells custom grip kits for lacrosse sticks. Maxx hopes to expand the applications for his product to other sports equipment, including tennis rackets and baseball bats. Most sports grips involve some kind of tape; Maxx’s innovation, a tube-like rubber grip that slips on, tightens to fit when heated with a heat gun or blow dryer.

Maxx developed his business plan while attending the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) offered by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. YEA!, founded and headquartered in Rochester, New York, offers programs in over 100 communities across the United States.

During the course of the YEA! program, which spans 30-weeks of an academic year, students work closely with business leaders, community leaders and educators to guide them as they learn to transform ideas into real, tangible companies that create economic and social value. YEA! Walks students through the process of brainstorming a business idea, writing a business plan, pitching the business to investors (just like the TV show “Shark Tank”), obtaining funding, and launching an actual business. Young entrepreneurs begin the program as students, and finish as CEO’s.

Like Maxx.

The Chamber’s next academy session begins this fall. Tacoma’s YEA! class meets at Stadium High School Tuesday through Thursday mornings from November to May, 6:30 to 7:25 a.m., before the regular school day begins. Students can apply now to the program at http://www.tacomachamber.org/content/yea.

To be considered as a candidate:

  • Students must complete and submit the application
  • Provide clear essay responses (included in the application)
  • Submit school transcripts
  • Present a letter of recommendation

An in-person interview is the last step of the qualifying process. No prior business experience or predetermined business concept is required to be accepted in the program.

For more information call the Chamber at (253) 682-1727.