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Reading YMCA Hosts Business Plan Challenge for Students

by YMCA of Reading and Berks County

Reading YMCA Hosts Business Plan Challenge for Students

On Friday, October 22, thirty middle school students from Reading School District gathered at the Reading YMCA to flex their entrepreneurial skills and compete for a chance to make their dream business a reality in the Young Entrepreneurz Organization (YEO) Business Plan Challenge.

The challenge took place over the course of five days, from October 18-22. Throughout the first four days, the students formed teams, conceptualized products and services, and created strategic business, marketing, and financial plans for their company. The challenge culminated in a final presentation given before a panel of five local community business leaders.

The winning team, Team Que’s Shoes, was comprised of Central Middle School students Armando Rodriguez, Unique Carabello, and Jadielys Gomez. Rodriguez, Carabello, and Gomez pitched a line of customizable shoes which use removable pieces to change the appearance of the shoe. The team was advised by Mr. Seth Fasig, a science teacher with Reading School District.

Team Que’s Shoes received $200 per team member for their victory and will have the opportunity to compete at the YEO Business Plan Challenge national competition in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prizes for the national competition include a cash prize of $1,000 per team members, plus an additional $2,500 to be used for business licenses, LLC formations, copyright, trademarks, and other expenses to help the winning team begin their business venture.

Travel expenses for the winning team members will be paid for by YEO. Visions Federal Credit Union will also provide the team with mentorship and business education services leading up to the national competition.

Team Green Dogs, comprised of Northeast Middle School students Poala Orihuela-Valdez, Xavian Vasquez, David Garced, and Oluwatofunmi Odeyemi, came in second place and was advised by Mrs. Rachelle Jamison. Their pitch included a line of sustainable dog accessories made from recycled plastic waste. Each team member received $50 in recognition of their performance.

This program was made possible through the support of Visions Federal Credit Union as well as a private charitable contribution. The Y would also like to thank Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, Smokey Bones, and 3rd & Spruce Drafthaus for generously donating lunch throughout the challenge.

“This challenge highlighted the amazing young students we have at the Reading School District,” said William Folk, III, Branch Executive Director at the Reading YMCA, “YMCA is grateful to have the support of the School District, charitable foundation, Visions, and local food businesses to put on a program like this for the students.”