"Invest in Elmont" initiative attracts local students


Nearly 100 local students and residents attended the Elmont Chamber of Commerce’s Sept. 22 meeting to discuss its newly created “Invest in Elmont” campaign. The campaign is encouraging local youth to become entrepreneurs by creating business plans for Elmont.

How does the plan work?

Current high school juniors and seniors, and college freshman, sophomores and juniors from Elmont and Floral Park are eligible to construct business plans to boost Elmont’s economy — participants can compete as individuals or in groups of up to four people — and a winning plan will be selected by the chamber in May. Students have until Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. to submit their applications to the chamber.

The winner(s) of the contest will receive the “Invest in Elmont Scholarship” — a $5,000 award.

At the chamber’s September meeting, local students’ ideas included building a theater, apartments for young people, a comedy club, a laser tag arena and a mural displaying “Welcome to Elmont” in the community.

“It was good to hear from our local youth and young adults about what business and community leaders can do to help them succeed beyond high school and college,” said Carl Achille, co-owner of The Shop in Elmont and a chamber member. “I believe in our motto, ‘less talk and more action,’ and hope that we can spread our message throughout.”

Muzzio Tallini, also a chamber member, who helped organize the campaign, said that the meeting spurred mixed emotions for him. “On the one hand, I was disappointed that so many of our youngsters don’t see themselves staying in Elmont,” he explained, “but am heartened that after engaging in a meaningful dialogue with these same youngsters, we have the opportunity to re-imagine this community as a place where they can build a future ... we never seem to get their opinions on these issues, and these youngsters are the ones that are going to inherit this community, so doesn’t it make sense to get their input?”

Nassau County Legislator John Ciotti, Town of Hempstead Councilman Ed Ambrosino and Elmont resident Carrié Solages — who is running against Ciotti in the November election for Legislative District 3 — attended the chamber’s meeting.

Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) said he believes that “Invest in Elmont” is a “groundbreaking” initiative. “Getting our young people involved in an effort such as this can motivate our future entrepreneurs and leaders throughout our community,” Martins said. “There is absolutely no question that an initiative like this can be the catalyst to the nurturing and encouragement of a future Elmont ‘Bill Gates’ as a result of this investment in our young people.”

All “Invest in Elmont” plans will be evaluated by several criteria, including income potential, idea specificity, idea creativeness, passion and value to the Elmont community. For more information, including information on how to sign up for the contest, contact the Elmont Chamber at elmontchamber@gmail.com, or call Muzzio Tallini at (516) 352-2867.

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