Persistence paid off in a big way for Palm Beach Atlantic University student Jude Abeler, whose business plan won $10,000 in seed money in the J.J.’s Entrepreneurs business plan competition on Friday.
Abeler, a sophomore majoring in pre-law and minoring in philosophy, revised his plan for a “structured new millennium journaling technique” that earned him second place in the competition last year. Now called Thoughtree, the business has been reconceived as a “personal thought network” that is compatible with iPhone and iPad.
Eventually it will be able to work on every mobile device, Abeler said.
He said he spent the past year working on the original plan’s shortcomings and developing it further. “It was more cerebral back then. It was more conceptual,” he said.
The second-place prize of $5,000 went to senior biblical studies major Christopher May, who partnered with teammate Lexie Barbee and his brother in Michigan, Aaron May, on a plan he describes as “an apparel company that provides consumers the ability to wear positive messages with unique and trendy designs.”
J.J. Prendamano, left, congratulates second-place recipient Christopher May and his teammate, Lexie Barbee.
May said he had been thinking about his business idea for about a year before entering the contest. He said he has been consulting with friends and family in addition to “just being in prayer about it.”
This was the second year of the business plan contest, which was open to all PBA students.
The United Franchise Group, a $500 million West Palm Beach franchise organization, partnered with the University to create J.J.’s Entrepreneurs, which includes a five-year minimum $75,000 commitment by UFG. It was developed to encourage and teach college students about the benefits of entrepreneurship and owning their own business.
A panel of judges representing the business community chose the winners. The judges were J.J. Prendamano, the program’s namesake and general manager of UFG; Ray Titus, CEO of UFG; Dale Hedrick; Jim Tatem; and Misty Travani.