During a trip to Seattle, Palm Beach Atlantic University freshman Shawn Peterson noticed fellow travelers sipping an exotic-looking drink.
When Peterson tried one of the refreshing beverages, known as Boba teas, he thought about how great it would be to enjoy the drinks back home in Florida. The Sunshine State’s many tourists also might appreciate the drinks, which combine milk, colorful flavored tea and pearls of tapioca, he remembers thinking.
|J.J. Prendamano (right), general manager of the United Franchise Group, presents the first-place award in the J.J.'s Entrepreneurs Business Plan Competition to Palm Beach Atlantic University student Shawn Peterson.|
As he mulled it over, “it turned into a business plan and a great opportunity,” said Peterson, who last week was chosen to receive the top prize of $10,000 to develop his business in the third annual J.J.’s Entrepreneurs Business Plan Competition.
The United Franchise Group, a $500 million West Palm Beach franchise organization, partnered with the University to create J.J.’s Entrepreneurs in 2011 to encourage and teach college students about the benefits of entrepreneurship and owning their own business.
PBA President William M. B. Fleming, Jr. said that the competition involves a collaboration between students, business faculty and the community. “One of the University’s four strategic themes is an engaged learning environment,” President Fleming said. “What we’ve seen is that this process truly is elevating the learning experience for our students.”
Students participating in the competition are mentored by J.J. Prendamano, the general manager of UFG, as well as company CEO Ray Titus, who together have more than 75 years of experience in franchise industries.
Peterson, a medicinal and biological chemistry major from New Port Richey, Fla., named his company Boba Central, and he plans to bring his imported drinks to shopping malls and festivals. He said money he won in the competition will help get his business off the ground.
The second-place prize of $5,000 went to Daylen Brinkley of Bunnell, Fla., a junior who is majoring in ministry and minoring in music. His company, Brinkley Consultants LLC, will offer digital currency consulting.
|J.J. Prendamano presents the second-place award to Palm Beach Atlantic University student Daylen Brinkley, whose business will offer digital currency consulting.|
Digital currency has been around for years, but it has experienced a flurry of media attention in recent months. “I’ve had an interest in it for a while,” said Brinkley, a student in the University’s Supper Honors Program.
The competition was open to all PBA students. The two winning plans were chosen from among four finalists.
Before the winners were announced, Prendamano and Titus urged all the finalists to continue working toward their goal of becoming entrepreneurs. “You shouldn’t let your dream end today,” Titus said.
“Please don’t give up,” Prendamano added. “Go out there, find some capital and run your business.”
A panel of judges chose the winners. The judges were Prendamano and Titus; Dale Hedrick, founder and president of Hedrick Brothers Construction; and Mary Mills, director of marketing and communications for UFG. Jared Reuter, a PBA alumnus and the first $10,000 prizewinner of the competition, also served as a judge.