March 18, 2011 15:08 ET

Creating The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs, The Facebook Way

How Online Voting Could Fund Free Business Workshops To Harness The Power and Creativity of Young People

TORONTO, ONTARIO and CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwire - March 18, 2011) -

Editors Note: There is 1 video and 1 photo associated with this Press Release

If enough people click their mouses enough times at between now and April 30, 2011, they will unleash a powerful force for change in their communities that will yield economic benefits for years to come.

And a Facebook cartoon that's already going viral could play a starring role in a story that's all about unlocking the hidden value of young peoples' talent and creativity.

It all has to do with a proposed series of free YELLNOW! workshops that will show first-time entrepreneurs how to write business plans and secure financing. YELL stands for "Youth Entrepreneurs: Live and Learn." The workshops are aimed at attracting and developing the next generation of youth entrepreneurs, business people, creators and innovators. The workshops will be held across Canada and the US and are competing for a $100,000 grant in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge

Alex Halevskiy, President of Everest Mouldings of Toronto, Canada knows all about the power of a sound business plan – and the expertise of the Daniel Plechac, the man behind the YellNOW! workshops. "Daniel Plechac helped me is so many ways with my business, everything from marketing to planning. But most of all, Daniel wrote the business plan that got the bank financing. It was a crucial step that helped get us where we are today: a thriving business with 15 employees and innovative products that has expanded to the United States." 

Plechac's day job is writing custom business plans for But he's always wanted to make his services available for free to those whose most need his help: young, would-be entrepreneurs with great ideas, but not much idea on how to develop them. "I'd love to do for the next generation what I did for Alex Halevskiy: kick start their business ideas and make dreams come true. And the Pepsi Refresh Contest offers the chance."

Plechac was delighted that his workshop idea was chosen as a finalist from among many submissions. But there will be only one winner for the $100,000 grant. He's trying to get the word out in ways that reach his intended audience. Thus was born the idea of a cartoon that could be shared on Facebook and mobile apps.

That's where James Burgie, a co-op student now completing the Media Communications program at Humber College Toronto North Campus, comes in. He directed an 83 second cartoon, with a college-age "surfer dude" character who has the mistaken belief that business is "not cool." But that attitude is "like so, last week," says another character. "The cartoon still cracks me up every time I watch it," says Burgie.

The cartoon cracks Plechac up, too. But behind the humor is a serious point. "Times are changing. Young people watch TV shows like "Dragon's Den" and "The Shark Tank" and dream of making it big. I'd like to transform those dreams into reality."

And all it takes is an online vote at The submission with the most votes will win the $100,000 grant. You can vote once a day.

"Your click today and every day at could make a huge difference in making your community a better place for years to come," says Plechac. "Let's YELLNOW! and say 'yes' to enthusiastic young people with great ideas." 

About Daniel Plechac and

Daniel's Plechac's zeal for entrepreneurism began early. He started his first business at the ripe old age of 12. (And that was after first working in his parents' business!) Daniel has over fifteen years of management, consulting and finance experience. Along the way, Daniel developed a passion for helping budding entrepreneurs with their business plans. He knows what works – and what doesn't. His "been there, done that" business plan experience ranges widely across hundreds of plans in every possible sector: transportation, retail, restaurants, clubs, marketing, financial services, and non-profits. Daniel prides himself on going the extra mile to deliver highly customized and personalized services to clients. (Ask him to tell you the tattoo parlor story!)

About The Pepsi Refresh Contest

Every other month, the Pepsi Refresh Contest awards grants of up to $200,000 as follows: one grant at the $100,000 level; two grants at the $25,000 level; three grants at the $10,000 level; and four grants at the $5,000 level. The contest looks for ideas from individuals, non-profit organizations and businesses that can make a positive impact in the community. Ideas should be feasible and completed within 12 months.

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