Recognizing our Spring 2018 Perlman Price Young Entrepreneurs Program Graduates

Entrepreneurial Programs Specialist Caroline Windom (left), Lei’Asha Battle, Fatima Demlak, Emily Jaramillo, Justin Borg, Alex Castanon and Whitney Wittstruck

Six local high school students from schools across Sarasota County recently graduated from the Spring 2018 class of the Perlman Price Young Entrepreneurs (PYE) program. The graduates included Lei’Asha Battle, Justin Borg, Alex Castanon, Fatima Demlak, Emily Jaramillo and Whitney Wittstruck. Thanks to the generosity of Richard E. Perlman and James K. Price, the students received 65+ hours of entrepreneurial education throughout this program and developed critical thinking, leadership and financial literacy skills through practical business exposure and mentorships with local leaders in the entrepreneurial field.

At the beginning of the Spring session, the students were introduced to the concepts of entrepreneurship and learned how to identify opportunities to meet the unique demands in a variety of markets. As the training progressed, the teens put their problem-solving skills to the test and began developing their own business ideas.

Once the class developed their business ideas, the students conducted market research to collect, organize and interpret data on potential customers and competitors. After the data collection, the teens learned about the cost of doing business, focusing on why fixed, variable and start-up expenses are necessary to turn their ideas into a functioning business plan. The teens learned how to market their ideas to attract, obtain and retain customers. At the end of the program, the students pitched their business plans at the end of the program to local investors for a chance at securing start-up funds.

Each student presented creative business plans, but the first-place winner was 15-year-old Fatima Demlak, a sophomore at The Out-of-Door Academy, for her business called Teen Employment Application (TEA). The goal of TEA is to match teens who are seeking employment with local business who are looking to hire. The venture will also provide personalized support to teens through soft-skills workshops. Fatima will receive full funding for her start-up needs.

Sarasota High School freshman Alex Castanon, 15, came in second place and will receive partial start-up funding for his LexC Board venture. The LexC Board is an electric longboard that is charged by solar panels. Alex came up with the idea because he loves skateboarding and has in interest in protecting the environment through green living and renewable energy.

Both Fatima and Alex will be paired with mentors who can help them further develop their business initiatives. Congratulations to Fatima and Alex and to the Spring 2018 PYE class for successfully completing this program!

PYE is offered three-times a year at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, specifically in the Tom & Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center. High school students who are interested in participating in the PYE program can learn more by clicking here. For more information, contact Caroline Windom, Entrepreneurial Programs Specialist, at 941-217-5295 or