Thumbs up to the participants — the young entrepreneurs, the panel of investors and the sponsors — of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Earlier this week, 17 young people presented 11 startup business proposals to representatives of four local businesses at the Investor Panel Presentation, held at Central Virginia Community College. Businesses represented on the panel included Schewels, SunTrust Bank, Babcock & Wilcox and Successful Innovations.

Each of the pitches to the would-be investors was limited to six minutes and were complete with marketing plans, sales and monthly income projects, capital estimates and a market analysis. All were competing for portion of the $6,000 up for investment.

Startup proposals ran the gamut of ideas. An organic hair conditioner. Custom-made bow ties. Personalized T-shirts. Music lessons tailored to elementary school students. Technology classes geared to people with absolutely no tech experience.

And they were all proposals generated and fleshed out by the young participants.

All this goes to prove that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Central Virginia, which bodes well for the region’s economy well into the future.

Congrats, guys, and good luck at the next level of competition.

* * *

Thumbs up to Central Virginia’s local colleges for their appearances on the national stage in the last week. And here they are, in no particular order:

 » Randolph College learned it was included on The Princeton Review’s listing of the 332 most-environmentally responsible colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. Hundreds of schools were surveyed in 2013, but few made the cut.

Randolph was joined by four other Virginia institutions.

 » Lynchburg College’s School of Business and Economics notched the No. 10 spot on Leadership Excellence magazine’s ranking of the nation’s best leadership development programs.

The school’s 2014 ranking is up 12 notches from the 2013 ranking.

 » Liberty University’s film program continues to draw national attention, evidenced by their work this spring on an upcoming film featuring “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Victorial Jackson.

For two years, students are immersed in every aspect of filmmaking, and every spring, the program partners with a different film company working on an actual project, shooting around Central Virginia.

As a result of last spring’s project, six students landed fulltime jobs with Sony Pictures. Not bad for a two-year-old program.

 » Sweet Briar College’s linkage of entrepreneur courses with senior seminars is yielding fruit ... and chips, snacks and cookies.

The latest student idea to enter the real-world marketplace is, a site where students can order food and other items for delivery after the on-campus outlets close.

Over the years, a number of businesses have emerged, with at least one patent resulting. Good work, ladies.

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