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Manhattan Beach Teen Entrepreneur Heads To National Finals

Oct 15, 2020 05:48PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Manhattan Beach teen entrepreneur Taylor Ryan will take the national stage on Saturday, October 17, as she competes to be named America's Next Top Young Entrepreneur. 

Ryan, a freshman at Mira Costa High School, won the top prize at this year's Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) competition in Manhattan Beach. Her company, Unstoppable Protective Gear, makes protective inserts for sports bras for contact sports like lacrosse.

Ryan's win earned her a spot at the YEA! 12th Annual Saunders Scholars National Competition, where teens from around the country will vie for top honors.  

YEA! National Competition

Saturday's Shark Tank style pitch competition will award over $80,000 in cash prizes and college scholarships to the Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology to the students with the best businesses in the U.S.

This year, the competition features 36 semifinalists representing 35 middle and high schools from 20 states across the country. Students will compete virtually for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, and for a People’s Choice Award. 

The competition will be live broadcast from Rochester, NY ABC-TV WHAM Channel 13 and will be streamed live over the web on YEA!’s YouTube channel and on Facebook live. Local viewers will be able to cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award. 

Viewers must register in advance at to participate in the text-to-vote People’s Choice Award.

Ryan will be pitching via YouTube live on Panel 2, scheduled to run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on West Coast time.

The national winner announcements will be made at 4:55 p.m. West Coast time.

Manhattan Beach YEA! Program Taking Applications

Ryan participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy's nine-month youth entrepreneurship program, presented by and in partnership with the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 501(c) 3 offering groundbreaking series of classes and workshops that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Throughout the program, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors for startup funds, and launch and run their own fully formed companies and social movements.

With the help of local entrepreneurs and business leaders, Ryan designed, pitched, and launched Unstoppable Protective Gear, which is aimed at helping women play on the field without the fear of getting injured.

“Without YEA! I would not be where I am today in my business,” said Ryan.

The Manhattan Beach YEA! Class of 2021 is forming now. The deadline for applications is Monday Oct. 19 at 12:00 p.m. Interviews will be conducted on Oct. 20 and 21 via Zoom, and the first day of class (via Zoom for now) is Wednesday October 28 from 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. For more information about the program and to access an application for your student, click here.

National Competition Spotlights Youth Entrepreneurs

This year’s Saunders Scholars National Competition is sponsored in part by the E. Philip Saunders Foundation, Southwest Airlines, and the Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“We could not be more proud of the work these young people are doing and of our partners who are leading the charge across the country delivering YEA!’s entrepreneurship education,” said YEA! founder and CEO Gayle Jagel. "Our local Chambers of Commerce, incubators, accelerators, universities, colleges and K-12 partners who come together through YEA! are igniting the sparks of innovation in the entire community. Just imagine what our world would look like if every student got the chance to bring their ideas to life.” 

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! today serves thousands of students nationwide. In 2008, the Saunders Foundation partnered with the academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today's youth and tomorrow's future leaders.  For more information, visit

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