High school and middle school students win business plan competition

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Three students from the Franklin Center of Beaver County were the big winners in the 6th Annual George W. Tippins Annual Business Plan Competition at the Rivers Club in Pittsburgh.

This 6th annual competition is a showcase for students, from grades 7-12, to demonstrate their business ideas and talents. The program is underwritten by the Tippins Foundation and named in honor of one of Pittsburgh’s most successful entrepreneurs, inventors and financiers of the latter half of the 20th century. The competition provides students with real life experience in business creation so young people can acquire knowledge and skills essential for: academic success, economic security, and the life they really want. Entrepreneuring Youth, which sponsors the annual competition, directs resources to engage and benefit young people at risk of failing academically and for whom career paths and opportunities for success seem extremely limited.

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WINNERS AND FINALISTS—From left: Bob Fragasso, chairman of the board for Entrepreneuring Youth; Amber Liggett, Josiah Council, Jesse Council, Licercia Crawley, Joey Pahula, Lisa Huff, Patrice Council, and John Tippins, Trustee the Tippins Foundation. Amber Liggett was the high school division winner; Josiah and his brother Jesse were the middle school division winners—the other students in the photo were the other finalists.

High School Division Winner

Bridgewater, Pa. resident and 15-year-old high school student, Amber Liggett, owner of Amber’s Amazing Balloons took the $2,000 top prize in the High School Division. A self-taught balloon artist, Amber started her business when she was 9 years old. At the age of 9, Amber received a balloon kit as a gift. She became fascinated with the various techniques for creating unique and colorful balloon shapes and animals. Today, she has a thriving business providing balloon creations to entertain people of all ages. Through stories and narratives, educational lessons are included, as well as moral values. Amber also uses her business as a fundraising opportunity for organizations.

Her business provides entertainment for, but not limited to: birthday parties, family reunions, weddings, corporate functions, school events, community events/festivals, church youth groups and scouting functions. The business also provides “balloons to go” (custom orders for balloons/­decorations that are pre-made and sold to the customer as takeout orders) and basic face painting. Amber said it was an amazing feeling when her name was announced as the 1st place winner in the Competition.

Middle School Division Winner

Josiah and Jesse Council took home the top prize of $400 in the Middle School Division for their business, J&J’s Healing Cream. These brothers collaborated on a product that solves the problem for people who have aches and pains but have allergic reaction to chemicals found in most healing creams. Their product is chemical free, all natural made from eight different herbs, essential oil and bees wax. Affordable and effective, this cream is guaranteed to relieve your sprains, sore muscles and arthritic joints.

“The entire competition was a great experience,” says Josiah. “To get this far and win first place was wonderful.”

Jesse added, “It was exciting and we’re very inspired to continue to help Entrepreneuring Youth raise awareness of this program to other students.”

Jerry M. Cozewith, president of Entrepreneuring Youth, says that the learning and growth occurring among these competitors and the other young students reached by its current programs demonstrates one important fact: immersing young people in the real world experience of business creation can fire up their imaginations and propel them to discover just how capable they are.

“It also instills entrepreneurial initiative to help them explore new pathways for pursing a life of personal and economic security,” he said. “That is why it is vital for our community to expand their investments of time as volunteer coaches and funding to engage even more youth, especially those living in economically-fragile neighborhoods. “

(About Entrepreneuring Youth: Entrepreneuring Youth, a 501 C 3 nonprofit educational and entrepreneurial experience program was founded in Pittsburgh on Sept. 1, 2009. Entrepreneuring Youth helps young people learn about business creation and experience ownership. It partners with educators, parents and youth work professionals who want to use entrepreneurial learning and business creation to engage young people in learning. For more information, visit http://www.eyouthamerica.org.)

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