2021-2022 Year in Review » Veale Entrepreneurs

2021-2022 YEAR IN REVIEW

VYEF programs are free to educators and high school students, empowering them with new entrepreneurial business skills.

educator workshop

Fall Educator Workshop

October 2021
The Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum hosted the fall educator workshop on October 14, 2021, at Laurel School. The workshop was designed for educators seeking academic information on entrepreneurship.

The workshop featured three guest speakers: Joe Corsaro, Laurel School; Pauly Suchy, Ohio Entrepreneurship Week/Global Business Angels Network; and Nicole Canitano, Young Entrepreneurship Institute.

Attendees found it valuable to discuss and brainstorm over the topics covered by the three speakers. Discussions were based around social entrepreneurship, the local entrepreneurship ecosystem, and entrepreneurial programming aspects.


October 2021
Thinkfest is a lively, interactive ideation workshop designed to inspire high school students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and to recognize, develop, and pitch business ideas.

Thinkfest took place on October 21, 2021 with 103 students and 11 educators attending from nine different schools across Northeast Ohio.

Continuous access to our Thinkfest On-Demand program and curriculum can be found here: Thinkfest Video and Creative Exploration

Thinkfest Workshops and our On-Demand Creative Exploration program are guided by Dr. Jeffrey Stamp. He is the creator of Baked! Lays Potato Chips, the Olive Garden breadstick, as well as other well-known brands and is the chief storyteller at Bold Thinking, LLC. At the 12,000 square foot creativity laboratory, he leads a team of highly skilled thinkers in projects that provide ideation and concept development services to corporations and universities worldwide.

VYEF John Carroll Thinkfest logo

Dare to Dream

November 2021
The fourth annual young women’s day event was held on November 8 & 9, 2021 at John Carroll University. This retreat leverages entrepreneurship to instill confidence and empower young women to pursue their dreams. The event featured speakers including Charlotte Wasserman, Founder of REAL; Uchechukwu Ike, Founder of Chebe Essentials; Jessica Thomas, Founder of Bombshell Beauty; Sarah Molyet, Founder of MolyetHandmade, Sarah McAllister, Emotional Health & Wellness Coach; Maria Coughlin, Author & Social Innovation Fellow; Julia Ruggiero, Author & Marketer; Adrienne Bankert, National Anchor; and Lucia Cannata, Realtor.

Students explored questions around the topics of: Why does it matter, the power of curiosity, appreciation, collaboration, courage/fear and where do we go from here.

166 students from 11 schools attended.

Young Women’s Day was presented in partnership with John Carroll University’s Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship.

Stock Market Challenge

December 2021
The Stock Market Challenge, hosted by Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland, is a high energy event designed to simulate the excitement of a real-life trading floor where students build solid financial foundations and gain knowledge they can use in the future. The event was held on Thursday, December 9, at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio.

Prior to the challenge, students learned the importance of investing and saving and created team-building skills by completing five in-class lessons within the JA curriculum.

During the challenge, teams of four or five students have to buy and sell shares in fictitious companies with $1,000,000 of “mock stock” throughout a simulated 60-day trading period. In this model, a new trading day starts every 60 seconds, making competition fierce and fun! The team from Polaris Career Center took home this year’s top prize.

thinkBIG! Challenge

December 2021 - March 2022
242 students from 106 teams and 14 schools across Northeast Ohio competed in this year’s thinkBIG! Challenge competition. Out of the 106 teams that submitted ventures to the thinkBIG! Challenge competition, 18 semifinalist teams had the opportunity to meet with start-up leaders in the community for executive coaching sessions to refine their pitches and business plans. The semifinalists then submitted updated entries to compete for the final four spots moving on to the thinkBIG! Summit held on March 1, 2022.

Final Four

Innovation Track

Winner: Moon Belly: Olmsted Falls High School

Finalist: MyCloset App: Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy

Small Business Track

Winner: El Puente: Laurel School

Finalist: One Brush: Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy

thinkBIG! Summit

March 2022
The thinkBIG! Summit is the culmination of the thinkBIG! Challenge which features the final four teams competing for $8,000 in prizes. The 2022 thinkBIG! Summit was held on March 1, with 200 students, educators, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders attending from 25 organizations. The event kicked off with students learning about the inspirational work and entrepreneurial journey of our keynote speaker, Yelitsa Jean-Charles, Founder and CEO of Healthy Roots Dolls. The audience was then able to participate in our attendee favorite mini-maker hackathon led by Upcycle Parts Shop! Each table of students worked in teams to craft physical representations of innovative ideas made from recycled materials and create a short 60-second pitch to describe their ideas. Prototypes were brought to the hall for judging and four finalist teams were chosen to pitch their ideas to audience members and a panel of judges for a chance to win prizes.

The event concluded with thinkBIG! Challenge pitch presentations from our final four teams: Moon Belly from Olmsted Falls High School, El Puente from Laurel School, and MyCloset App and One Brush both from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. Teams pitched their ideas to a panel of three judges and received feedback and suggestions to enhance their ideas.

“I believe everyone has the ability to change the world!” – Yelitsa Jean-Charles, Founder and CEO of Healthy Roots Dolls, 2022 thinkBIG! Summit Keynote Speaker

VYEF Design Challenge Hackathons

March and May 2022
The first VYEF Design Challenge Hackathons in partnership with GiveBackHack allowed students to learn a series of skill sets through workshops, mentorship, and curriculum which encouraged students to develop sustainable solutions to pressing social issues.

GiveBackHack conducted 4 activities: Impact gap mapping, prototyping, business model canvas and pitching final ideas.

The first event took place at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, and featured 20 students from the Business School and Engineering School.

The second event took place at St Edward High School on Monday, May 2, 2022 and featured 50 students.