By Anna-Claire Terry
Staff Reporter

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy held its investors panel event on Monday night.
Students were required to present their ideas and inventions to a panel of judges/investors. Each presentation was limited to five minutes, and inventors presented their idea, outlined a business plan and told the investors how much money they would need to start their business. At the end of the presentations, students were asked three questions by the investors. Some of the questions asked were how they planned to get the word out about their product and what makes their product better than competitors.
The judges chose their top three favorite business ideas. weather gear to conveniently be sold in vending machines at outdoor sporting events.
The first place winner, and the student who will represent Opelika at the semi-final competition in Boca Raton, Fla., is Hunter Weston. Weston is the C.E.O. of West Vest, vests outfitted with pouches of icepacks for cooling purposes. Each vest will retail for $50, and Weston asked investors for $767.97. Weston’s ultimate goal is to one day have his product sold at stores like Gander Mountain and Bass Pro Shop. He would like to begin mass production by December 2016. Weston is a student at OMS and is also a member of the baseball team and National Junior Honor Society.
Walker Norrell came in second place with the Weather Warrior, ponchos, visors and other weather gear to conveniently be sold in vending machines at outdoor sporting events.
In third place was Walker Beams, C.E.O. of Beam’s Fishing Glove. Beam’s product is designed to protect fishermen’s hands from sharp teeth and fins while taking fish off of their lines.
Some other ideas pitched at the event included a babysitting business, a fashion app, reversible socks, an employment app for teens, a line of t-shirts and designer crutches.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy has an array of business mentors from businesses all over Opelika.
Some of the mentors are Angela George of O Town Ice Cream, Kyle Sandler of Round House, Bill Price of First Realty, Larry Humphrey of Twin City Meats and Tanisha Stephens of Intown Imagery.