|Ray Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group, left, and PBA President William M.B. Fleming, Jr., right, address PBA students during the J.J.'s Entrepreneurs business plan competition informational meeting Nov. 2.|
"This is an exciting day," Palm Beach Atlantic University President William M.B. Fleming, Jr. said to an audience of undergraduate and graduate students interested in learning how they can win $10,000 to start their own business. "I'm here to declare you are winners because you are risk-takers with an imagination and a creative spirit."
PBA’s J.J.’s Entrepreneurs business plan competition kicked-off its second year with an informational meeting Nov. 2 in MacArthur Hall Room 1292. Fleming, Jared Stresen-Reuter, a PBA graduate and the first recipient of the top prize in the 2012 competition and Ray Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group (UFG), shared details on the business plan contest as well as made available the application packets.
“PBA is proud to partner with UFG for the J.J.'s Entrepreneurs business plan competition for year number two," Fleming said. "It's a proven, successful program that will launch you into an exciting future."
UFG, a $500 million West Palm Beach franchise organization, established a partnership with PBA in 2011 to help student entrepreneurs start their own business ventures by contributing, mentoring and funding. Named J.J.’s Entrepreneurs after J.J. Prendamano, current general manager of UFG, the program was developed to teach students about the benefits of entrepreneurship.
All currently enrolled Palm Beach Atlantic University undergraduate day, evening and graduate students are eligible to enter. A screening committee, made up of local business owners and PBA staff members, will select the top two business plans in March. One business plan team will be awarded $10,000 and a second will receive $5,000 to launch their business ventures.
|Jared Stresen-Reuter, the first recipient of the top prize in the 2012 J.J.’s Entrepreneurs business plan competition, explains Toodol, a social media website.|
Initially to Stresen-Reuter, this sounded too good to be true.
"Last year, I was sitting in the third or fourth row at the first information meeting, and I was a little skeptical," Stresen-Reuter said. "As the meeting went on, I realized this was for real and a great opportunity to win $10,000 for my idea."
Stresen-Reuter’s winning idea was a social media website, Toodol, launched in September 2012. It allows users to post local events explaining and even showing details about that event in their area. He said just having the experience of working on his proposal from concept to completion made participating worthwhile. He also encouraged students who compete to ask for assistance from PBA professors and UFG.
“The opportunity I had to partner with UFG, having the mentors there, being able to go and ask different questions was invaluable,” he said. "I was able to build a career off of an opportunity."
Stresen-Reuter was actually hired by UFG upon graduation in May 2012. Titus said the company does not plan on hiring every winner. However, both he and Prendamano do plan to help each student participating by providing real-life experience and "tell it like it is" advice, which will build solid skills in entrepreneurship.
"Our goal is not to just impact the one or two people who win the award," Titus said. "Our goal is to impact everyone positively."
When asked what UFG is looking for in a business proposal, Titus said it must be a tangible idea.
"We're looking for a good idea; something we can get a return investment on," he said. "It's got to be something we can make successful, together. And, if it makes money, we'll share in that; you at 80 percent and UFG at 20 percent."
Dale Smith, a third-year undergraduate evening student majoring in organizational management in PBA's MacArthur School of Leadership, attended the informational session. He believes he has an idea that can be successful.
"I already have a business idea, which involves helping others," Smith said. "Wining this competition would provide the capital."
For more information on the J.J.’s Entrepreneurs business plan competition contact Mary Jacobs, director of Parent Relations and Special Projects.