The recent Young Entrepreneur Business Expo provided the young entrepreneurs the
opportunity to sell, promote their services, and showcase their business ideas
as well as to network with some of the region's top business executives.
Baked goods, jewelry, herbal creams, natural lipstick, landscaping and photography services were a few of the businesses on display during the Entrepreneuring Youth Igniting Possibilities and George W. Tippins Regional Business Competition Awards 2013 event.
Designed to assist middle and high school youth in learning about business creation and experience ownership, E Youth has assisted more than 300 youth throughout its four-year history. "I have got a lot out of this program the two years I have participated," said 15 year-old Terren Holiday of Terren's Lawn Service. "I have learned how to market and how to talk to people said the Perry Traditional Academy sophomore.
E Youth officials say more than 400 student entrepreneurs, family members, teachers, and adult supporters from the area business community were in attendance to recognize the achievements of the youth across a variety of categories.
"Each year our attendance grows, as more adults learn about the initiative and spirit of self-motivation being cultivated among our young people," pointed out E Youth President Jerry Cozewith. "The Ignite Possibilities event serves as a celebration of youthful entrepreneurship and the positive life lessons it fosters."
George W. Tippins Business Plan Competition finalists were separated into two divisions, the Start-Up and Up-Start Division. The Start-Up division featured a young person who has advanced along the learning pathway and has operated a revenue-generating business within the 12 months prior to the competition. The winner of that category was Megan Bobogie owner of Meg's Photo Booth, which produces photographs printed in high resolution on canvas. The sophomore is part of the E Youth program conducted by the Franklin Center and the Community College of Beaver County. Her winning also positions her to participate in a national student entrepreneur competition hosted by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in October.
The Up-Start Division winner was Urban Pathways Charter School sophomore Derica Sanchez owner of DERI, a custom dog collar designed business. The Up-Start Division features participants in the introduction level program whose understanding of key information suggests they will have an operating enterprise at the next program level.
The Emerging Youth Entrepreneur of the Year honor was awarded to ninth grader Nariah White owner of Nariah's Fabulous Jewelz. Giving thanks to the teachers that have helped her grow along the way, she says the creative thing about her business is that each piece of jewelry is uniquely designed and hand made.
During an emotional presentation by the family of the late Ron Morris, Shane Jones, CEO and founder of Shane's Bakery Service received the inaugural Ron Morris E-Ward. The ninth grader is said to combine his love of working in the kitchen experimenting with recipes while building a level of confidence and assurance to interact with people. He received a $2,500 cash award for his ongoing education.
Ron Morris of the radio show The American Entrepreneur, according to his family, believed that anyone who decided to take control of their life and transform an idea into a business would not only be a self-fulfilled person, but a happy person. His mantra was, "Follow your passion. Find the best people. And never ever give up." Cozewith said Jones has those qualities and that is why he was chosen to win the award. In keeping their loved ones' passion for entrepreneurship alive by extending his legacy further into the community, the Morris family provided the seed monev for the E-Youth's Ron Morris E-Ward with the "E" standing for exemplary entrepreneur.
Adult award winners included Dennis Henderson and Larry Miller. Henderson, of the Manchester Academic Charter School, according to E Youth officials is a longtime participant and supporter of the E Youth program. He received the Amazing Educator of the Year award.
Miller, executive in residence at Innovation Works received the i-Ignite Award for Exceptional Volunteer Services. "Larry works as a volunteer coach with E Youth, analyzing and appreciating what young people are capable of learning and becoming," Cozewith said. "In his unique way he challenges, guides and inspires our young people to expand their ideas, fulfill their aspirations, and to never stop learning."
Chris Moore, WQED Pittsburgh host and co-moderator served as the E Youth Igniting Possibilities awards ceremony master of ceremonies. Judges for the final round of competition included Bruce Reed founder of Bruster's Ice Cream, Norman Childs founder of Eyetique, John Tippins of Tippins Foundation and Stonewood Capital Management, Dwight Mayo, Partner in Obsidian Logistics, Joe Massaro, CEO of Massaro Construction, Syd Rollock, founder and president of XXIC Grown Ventures, LLC, David Zyweic, president of the Scaife Family Foundation, CJ Hendron, director of PantherLab Works at the University of Pittsburgh, Doris Carson Williams, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania and Maria Smathers, vice president of NexTier Bank.
The George W Tippins Business Plan Competition Awards are named after Point Breeze native and entrepreneur who established the Tippin Foundation as a way to help young entrepreneurs by providing for their educational needs.
A not-for-profit organization, Entrepreneuring Youth Igniting Possibilities operating in middle and high schools within the region furthers the aspirations and natural talent of young people in economically fragile communities through entrepreneurial learning and business creation.
"We are building our program throughout Greater Pittsburgh," Cozewith said. Currently working with youth in Pittsburgh, Brownsville and Beaver County, he says the organization hopes for their footprint to spread into other counties including Butler County.
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