Woodlawn High School student, Inara Johnson, who is in the Gifted program, has emerged victorious at this year’s Community Pitch event hosted by the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge (YEA BR). In a Shark Tank-like setting at the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business, Johnson secured $450 in seed funding to launch her startup, Radiance Bakery.

The Community Pitch drew a crowd of over 250 attendees, including special guests Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and LSU College of Business Dean Jared Llorens. Since September, participating students like Johnson have been diligently developing their brands, business plans, and presentations in preparation for this momentous event.

Each student had three minutes to pitch their startup to a panel of six local executives, vying for crucial seed funding. The event not only provided a platform for young entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas but also served as a testament to the transformative journey from student to CEO.

YEA BR’s emphasis on nurturing confident, creative leaders goes beyond just entrepreneurship. Through programs like the Community Pitch, students are empowered to realize their potential and make meaningful contributions to their communities. As YEA BR continues its mission, it seeks to inspire and cultivate the next cohort of student CEOs, fostering a culture of innovation and leadership.