In a high-ceilinged auditorium known as the Hall of Wisdom, J.J. Prendamano, the semi-retired general manager of West Palm Beach-based United Franchise Group, told Palm Beach Atlantic University students this week that it’s not enough to be satisfied with one’s accomplishments.
|J.J. Prendamano of United Franchise Group speaks to Palm Beach Atlantic University students this week during their site visit to UFG's world headquarters in West Palm Beach.|
“I’m not where I used to be, ladies and gentlemen, but I’m not where I want to be,” said Prendamano, who is the namesake of the J.J.’s Entrepreneurs business plan competition at Palm Beach Atlantic.
J.J.’s Entrepreneurs is a partnership between PBA and UFG designed to help student entrepreneurs start their own business ventures by contributing mentoring and funding toward their visionary concepts. Students participating in the competition are mentored by Prendamano as well as UFG’s CEO Ray Titus, who together have more than 75 years of experience in franchise industries.
Prendamano said that one of his biggest regrets is that he didn’t have a mentor. Instead, he looked to the teachings of people like Zig Ziglar, Abraham Lincoln and others, he said.
He said he reads 20 to 30 books a year and always strives to better himself. “I’m not happy with being just complacent,” he said.
He also challenged students to ask themselves two questions: What am I going to be intentional about in 2014, and to what am I committed?
“We need to have enough reasons to accomplish great things,” he said.
The inspirational talk preceded a tour of UFG’s world headquarters in West Palm Beach. UFG is a $500-million franchising company with 30 years of experience and more than 1,400 franchise locations in 65 countries. Brands include SIGNARAMA, EmbroidMe, Plan Ahead Events, SuperGreen Solutions and Transworld Business Advisors.
Among the tour guides was 2012 PBA graduate Jared Reuter, the first winner of the J.J.’s Entrepreneurs competition. Reuter’s winning idea was for a social media website, Toodol, which allows its users to post local events telling, explaining and even showing details about that event in their area.
|Jared Reuter, Palm Beach Atlantic University graduate and founder of the web site Toodol, leads PBA students on tour of UFG.|
Toodol launched in September 2012 and continues to expand into new markets, Prendamano said. He encouraged the students in attendance to submit a business plan into the competition, noting that one student will be awarded $10,000 and one will receive $5,000 to launch their business.
The deadline for this year’s business plan competition has been extended to March 10.
Last year’s J.J.’s Entrepreneurs winners were Jude Abeler, a junior who developed a mobile app known as Thoughtree, and Christopher May, a 2013 graduate who developed a clothing line called Immortal Habits.
During the tour, students were able to stand in the storefronts where new franchise owners receive hands-on training. They also had a chance to speak with and ask questions to UFG team members.
Freshman business management major Genevieve Caron said that having Reuter as a tour guide was motivating, as was seeing the efficient manner in which UFG operates.
“I like the idea of how they constantly have people come in” to tour the facilities, Caron said. “They like to talk to people face-to-face. They’re into building relationships.”
Also, senior marketing major Lisa Valentine said she enjoyed “seeing the international business element” of the company.
Another student, freshman organizational management major Lawanda Colvin, has a business idea that she is submitting into the competition. “Just having an opportunity to meet with Mr. J.J. was terrific,” she said.
J.J.’s Entrepreneurs is open to all current PBA students.