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Academy of Finance students attend Youth Economic Group Symposium

November 23, 2014

Written by: AOF Juniors

Probably the most common statement young people say is “there’s nothing to do around here." November 7 was a day for them to think about what they would do if they could change that. The Youth Economic Group leaders, who work with local high school students to create economic opportunities to better the lives of young people locally and globally, held a symposium at SUNY Sullivan for students from Fallsburg, Liberty and Monticello to work together to create a three minute pitch to get hypothetical approval for a $250,000 loan for a product or service that would benefit Sullivan County.

The experience was tremendous. The day started with the college president, Dr. Hilgersom, inspiring students with all that SUNY Sullivan offers as a two year college and surprised the audience with an announcement that each student on the winning team that day would receive a $500 SUNY Sullivan scholarship. The stakes were high!

Before breaking into their work groups, students heard from Omar Freilla, founder and director of Green Worker Cooperatives, who shared his knowledge and experience of worker cooperatives, which is also what YEG is. The young people then had 1 ½ hours to work with an adult leader to create their sales pitch. Students had to consider factors such as the feasibility of their idea, the location of their business, operating costs, time to break-even, affordability, and competition.

All of the teams did a thorough job of completing their task. Many presented the idea of a recreation center with activities for young people, but the panel of judges decided that a movie theatre and restaurant, called Reel Food, was the best idea presented. That winning team included three Monticello Academy of Finance juniors, Teshawn Phillips, Devin Wiseman and Kieran Cavanagh.

If anyone reading this has $250,000 to invest in a meaningful business project in Sullivan County, we have a few ideas that you may want to consider!

Photo (top): AOF students attend the YEG Symposium.

Photo (above right): Team presentations were part of the symposium.

Photo (above left): AOF students attend the YEG Symposium.

Photo (right): The winning team!