UPDATE: Connor Christian, a 13 year-old from Texas took out the top prize Friday night with his Rubber Boot Buddy idea. His invention is meant to be installed in the back of a truck to keep rubber boots in place and easily accessible.
Christian won $30,000 scholarship to RIT as well as a trip to America’s Small Business Summit and a chance to pitch his idea on the TV show, Shark Tank.
Second place went to Spencer and Tanner Harrison from Utah, and third place went to Yasmine Mohamed of the Mohawk Valley.
The US Chamber of Commerce has pledged $100,000 to help with the expansion of Rochester's Young Entrepreneurs Academy in local chambers of commerce across the country.
Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy provides a year-long class aimed at turning middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs.
“I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have business cards in 8th grade," Chief Operating Officer of the US Chamber of Commerce, David Chavern.
"But a lot of these kids do, and it gives you a lot of confidence about the future frankly when you see just how spectacular and poised these kids are.”
Chavern says it's paramount for programs like this one to instill the spirit of entrepreneurship in the younger members of the community.
“The key thing to always remember about free enterprise is, it’s what drives the prosperity in this country. But also, it’s a means by which individuals can really pursue the lives they want.”
National business leaders are set to announce America’s top young entrepreneur from the program Friday night.
Nine finalists aged 11-18 will pitch their business plans in the hopes of winning college scholarships for up to $50,000 as well as other opportunities to develop their business ideas.