San Diego CA— On Saturday, September 18, three transition-age foster youth will face off in front of a panel of expert judges for a chance to win a $3,000 investment in their business ideas. Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT), a local nonprofit that helps young individuals transition from foster care to self-sufficiency and well-being, will host its fourth annual entrepreneurial competition during its Pathways to Financial Power conference
All competitors for this “Shark Tank” inspired event are participants in JITs Pathways to Financial Power program and have spent time growing up in foster care. The competition is part of Pathways’ intention to embed young men and women in a supportive community of volunteers, professionals, organizations and like-minded peers with common goals: to promote confidence and work readiness, plus establish a strong financial foundation. Participants attending the Pathways conference have already engaged in a number of workshops and resources, with access to one-on-one coaching plus training on networking, interviewing, resume and cover letter writing, entrepreneurship, budgeting, investing, goal-setting, strengths development, and many other areas of professional and personal development.
“This competition is the opportunity to do what you want with the support of folks who have already done it successfully,” said Victoria Willis, the winner of the 2020 JIT Shark Tank competition. Victorias idea, Brunches of Bunches,” is an educational and inspiring professional podcast with a casual brunch approach where popular entrepreneurs from all walks of life can share their successes, shortcomings and advice with those in pursuit of entrepreneurship. It was very motivational to hear from experienced professionals that they like what I’m doing and believe in an idea that I created myself.”
The call to compete inspired 14 eager young businesspeople to submit their initial business plans for review. After evaluation from a volunteer panel of local business professionals, a Super Six” were picked to develop fully actionable business plans with one-on-one support from volunteer coaches, all successful entrepreneurs themselves. These coaches include Bob Freund, Principal (Retired), Synergration Solutions; Marty Goodman, President, Henderson Properties, Inc.; Ugochi Iwuaba, Fashion Designer, Ugochi Iwuaba Fashion; Jane Kaggwa-Snow, CEO, AquaVita; Neil Senturia, CEO, Blackbird Ventures, Inc.; Margo Turner, CEO, Powerminds; Robert Vega, Client Relationship Consultant, U.S. Bank; and Sheila Weinstock, Founder & CEO, Mollys Angels
Three finalists have been selected to make their pitch to real business professionals, investors, and peers during the Pathways to Financial Power conference. These are the finalists and their ideas:
- Margen Dishmon: her idea, Rare & Radiant, is a mobile spray tan business that makes tanning accessible and convenient anywhere at any time. With a highly-trained spray tan artist, Rare & Radiant will provide 100% organic, all-natural spray tans infused with vitamins so clients can reach their fullest radiant potential with a natural looking, beautiful, sun-kissed glow.
- Stephany Gomez: her idea, Sxoboutique, is a Latina-owned online clothing retailer that provides fashionable, affordable clothing for women of every size. Sxoboutique is dedicated to empowering women of all shapes to embrace not only their physical beauty, but also their internal beauty and the adversities they have overcome.
- Stephen Thomas: his idea INSURE +: is a company that creates immersive virtual replicas of properties through 3D technology. INSURE + produces a visual inventory of a space, creating a substantial record of assets that can be provided as documentation in insurance claims in the event of a fire, earthquake, theft, or other disaster.
The judges for this year’s competition include Sylvia Bier, Principal Corporate Counsel, Microsoft; Dr. Jay Lichter, Managing Director, Avalon Ventures and President & CEO, COI Pharmaceuticals; Jerry Morris, Founder & CEO, NextLevel Internet, Inc.; Danitza Villanueva, Co-Publisher, Giving Back Magazine; and Sam Webster, Managing Director, Community First Strategies, LLC.
The Pathways to Financial Power conference and competition are made possible thanks to the generous support of various sponsors. Power Sponsors include Alta Company, LLC & The Grant Family; Andrus Family Fund; Del Mar Highlands Town Center; Pat & Paula Donahue; Kenneth T. & Eileen L. Norris Foundation; The John M. Sachs Family; Satterberg Foundation; May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust; Tomlinson Foundation; and Vicki & Jeff Winkelman. Presenting Sponsors include Jody & Lee Gorran; Sue & Jay Lichter; RWM Home Loans; Louarn & Alan Sorkin; Tina & David Thomas; and Tuffli Family Foundation.
Gold Sponsors include Diane & David Archambault; Diane Cox & Don Wells; Inez Branca Family Foundation; Jeanette Day; Marty Goodman; SBPC Foster Hope Ministry; Mark Schmidt; State Farm Enterprise Philanthropy; Jean & Rod Stewart, and JoAnn & Steve Wilson. Silver Sponsors include Mary Ann Blair; Nancy Cannon OConnell & Tom OConnell; CIT Bank; Farmers Insurance; HP, Inc; Plaza Home Mortgage; Red Door Interactive; SDG&E, A Sempra Energy Utility; Lisa & Jim Silverwood; Spire 100; Ellen & Bob Svatos; and Christopher Weil & Company.
To learn more about Just in Time for Foster Youth or to make an investment towards Pathways to Financial Power, please visit www.jitfosteryouth.org.