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Students win $4,000 in Seminole State’s second annual business startup contest

(L-R) Professor David Moradian; Dr. Angela Kersenbrock, associate vice president, School of Career and Professional Programs; Lauren Dodds; Veronica Aquino; Hayden Smith; and Hugh Moore, dean, Center for Business, Legal and Entrepreneurship.

The second annual contest invited current Seminole State students to create and develop full business plans for potential startup companies. Winners were announced at a ceremony on April 12.

Winners are as follows:

  • Lauren Dodds, a senior in the Bachelor of Science in Business and Information Management program, won first place and a $2,500 prize for her company, Her business offers a secure website connecting parents and babysitters, providing safety for both parties, and enabling all to stay connected in a network of trust. Dodds is the CEO of her company.
  • Veronica Aquino, a senior in the Associate in Science (A.S.) in Entrepreneurship and Business Management program and a professional home organizer, won second place and a $1,000 prize for her business, Organize The World. Her business was created to simplify and de-clutter residences.
  • Hayden Smith, a freshman in the Associate in Arts (A.A.) program with a focus in general business, won third place and $500 for his residential and commercial pressure washing business, Smith and Raike Pressure Washing.

“The contest helps to build a student’s entrepreneurship spirit,” says David Moradian, professor and program manager of entrepreneurship programs at the College. “It encourages each participating student to take responsibility for the startup and also to experience the sacrifices and rewards associated with the endeavor.”

To complete their entries, students were asked to create a comprehensive business plan that included components such as a company description, a summary of the product or service, a marketing plan, analysis of the industry and potential competitors, a financial plan, operational and developmental schemes, analysis of risk factors, a possible exit strategy and supporting documents.

During creation of the proposals, entrants were able to seek coaching and support from faculty mentors. Submissions were judged by a panel of business CEOs, experienced entrepreneurs and investors.

Associated with the startup contest was the Entrepreneurship Fair held April 12 on Seminole State’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. At the Entrepreneurship Fair, Seminole State students and alumni showcased their businesses and shared their startup stories with students and visitors. The fair drew participants representing a wide array of business ventures.

Seminole State’s Center for Business, Legal and Entrepreneurship, one of the largest business programs in Central Florida, offers more than 20 degrees, certificates and programs to help students prepare for the next step. For more information, please visit the center's website.

First-place winner Lauren Dodds presents her business plan to the contest judges.

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