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Hyeyong Caitlynn Jeon and Faith Shoup

Featured Article

YEA! Students Earn $5,000 in Awards

Loudoun's Kids Begin their Adventure in Entrepreneurship

Article by Melinda Gipson

Photography by Marty Shoup, Blue Lion Multimedia

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

Hyeyong Caitlynn Jeon, a 10th grader at Independence High School, took home the top prize in the Loudoun Young Entrepreneurs Academy’s 8th Annual Investor Pitch Competition. Her non-profit, AriAri, seeks to support children whose mothers have been diagnosed with breast cancer with age-appropriate books. Ari’s Journey, her first book, explains the different emotions a child with a parent diagnosed with breast cancer goes through to show other kids they’re not alone. “I’m Ari,” she proclaimed confidently to the investor panel, “My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and I want to share my journey to help others.” She will use her $1,500 award to publish Ari’s Journey this fall, in anticipation that it will become a series.

This year, 22 student entrepreneurs pitched their business and nonprofit startups to a panel of local business leaders. Presented by the Loudoun Chamber Foundation and the Loudoun Economic Development Authority, YEA! Loudoun is a 7-month program that teaches students how to develop, pitch and launch their own small business. Other winners: $1,000 to Arjun Virmani of Nysmith School for his Silent Pickleball; $1,000 to Madison Shields of Briar Woods High School for Simply Scrubs, an all-natural organic body scrub for those with eczema; $500 to Praneel Sangeetham of Trailside Middle School for StylAid, an app that uses AI to suggest outfits; $500 to Nikita Maheshwari of Trailside Middle School for Magnetical Magic, magnetic clasp jewelry; and $500 to Akshay Bharath of Briar Woods High School for Tippy, a digital tipping platform. Applications for next year’s YEA! class are posted here:

  • Hyeyong Caitlynn Jeon and Faith Shoup