Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award named after Fran Blackney

Staff Report

While Fran Blackney, the dynamic founder of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program, is no longer with us in body, her spirit lives on.

Last month, it was announced that Blackney’s profound influence through YEA! would continue to not only touch the young lives of students going through the program in Clovis, but those participating in YEA! nation wide, thanks to an award being established in her honor.

Gayle B. Jagel, the founder and CEO of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, wrote a letter to Fran’s husband, and Clovis Chamber CEO, Mark Blackney, explaining that the organization plans to create the Fran Blackney Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award.

“Our entire organization so enjoyed working with Fran, and we all continue to be inspired by her enthusiasm for youth entrepreneurship,” Jagel wrote. “We would like to establish the Fran Blackney Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award to recognize a YEA! student, on a national level, with drive and enthusiasm for their community and promoting a culture of innovation.”

The establishment of the award will be officially announced on state at the Saunders Scholars National Semi-Finals in Rochester on May 6.

Going forward, each YEA! class will have the opportunity to nominate a student for the award. Nominations would then be reviewed by YEA! headquarters and narrowed down to five to 10 students to be reviewed and selected by Mark Blackney. The selected student will be recognized nationally at the Saunders Semi-Finals competition each year.

“Our team is eager to recognize Fran’s important work and passion for YEA!” Jagel said.