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Young Entrepreneurs Academy teen ready to test her prototype

Kristin Foye - September 10, 2015


Staten Island pediatricians may soon be getting a visit from an aspiring young entrepreneur who wants to talk candidly about one of childhood’s greatest fears: inoculations. 

Danielle Aylmer was the winner of the first Young Entrepreneurs Academy’s (YEA!) investor panel in 2013/2014, pitching her idea for Syngies, a toy that snaps onto a syringe to distract youngsters from the sharp (needle). The investor panel – comprised of Staten Island business people - is similar to a “Shark Tank” experience for young participants in the annual after-school program sponsored by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Applications are now being accepted for the academy’s third class.

With seed money from the YEA! program and guidance from Tottenville High School teacher Daniel Solomon, Aylmer now has about 500 Syngies prototypes - plastic cars in several colors - that will hide syringes and hopefully help reduce or eliminate a child’s fear of getting a shot. Children get to keep the car after they receive the shot.

Aylmer explains her inspiration: “When I was little, I really hated getting shots or bloodwork. The worst part was seeing the needle,” she said.

That childhood memory inspired her business plan for YEA!, an extra-curricular activity for motivated high school students. But “the hardest part was figuring out how to get prototypes made, and how to make it cost effective for doctors to purchase,” Aylmer said, noting that it can cost “tens of thousands of dollars to create a mold for a prototype.”

With help from Solomon, they discovered that 3-D printing was a cost-effective solution. At the MakerBot Innovation Center at SUNY New Paltz, a college student helped Aylmer generate a design without having to pay a design fee.

The next step “is go to doctors and ask them to test them out,’ Aylmer said. She is creating a survey for pediatricians who agree to test Syngies, so she can gather their feedback and make adjustments if necessary.

When Aylmer developed her idea for the YEA! program, she consulted with a pediatrician who recommended that she make Syngies more comfortable for the hand, Solomon said, noting that “her original was too large.”

“I anticipate that doctors will be anxious to try them, to see how patients react,” Solomon said. “The whole functionality is to make the experience of a young person receiving an injection much less stressful.

“It’s a win-win situation,” he added. “You have a kid looking forward to getting something, and the bottom line is that it can help reduce time for a doctor and stress for a child.”

Aylmer was a student in Solomon’s dental laboratory at Tottenville High School, and is now a student in the College of Staten Island’s Verrazano School, an undergraduate honors program. She is considering a career as a pediatric dentist.

If pediatricians like using Syngies and the device proves its merit, Aylmer would eventually like to design more than just cars, “maybe a more girlie design, like a wand” that could wave away a child’s fear, she said.

The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation is searching for more high school students like Aylmer - high school students who could be the next Bill Gates or Martha Stewart. Applications are now being accepted for the 2015-2016 YEA! class.

YEA! is open to all Staten Island students in grades 9 to 12. While in the Academy, students will receive all the necessary tools to launch their own real businesses. This includes access to valuable resources like attorneys, accountants, business mentors, and graphic designers. YEA! participants will have an audience with investors for real start-up cash – similar to the popular television show Shark Tank.

Interested teens can apply online at for both the program and scholarships. The deadline is Sept. 25. Classes are held on Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. starting Oct. 8 and running through May 19. Most classes are held at Susan E. Wagner High School, with occasional field trips to locations around Staten Island.

Business leaders who are interested in getting involved with the YEA! program can also contact the Chamber for details. Call 718-727-1900 or email



Categories: Chamber Blog, Press Releases

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