Five local businesses earned cash prizes for their young owners at the Reedley LaunchPad Pitch Fest organized by the Fresno Pacific University Center for Community Transformation.
The contest to encourage young entrepreneurs was open to local residents 12-24 years old. Winners were:
- Miguel Cepeda took home $2,000 and first place for Cater 2 You Embroidery, which provides custom embroidery to students in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD) students.
- Damian Peregrino and Steven Encinas won $1,500 and second place for Convenient Car Care, being named crowd favorite award as well.
- Jazmine Hernandez received third place and $1,000 for Nails by Jaz, a nail service that goes to its clients directly.
- Jesus Alvarado earned fourth place and $500 for On the Side, an app that connects individuals looking to earn a little extra money “on the side” and clients with a broad range of specific jobs.
The event took place December 15, 2023, at the West Coast Mennonite Central Committee Offices on G St. Participants had submitted proposals in November. Following oral presentations entries were judged by a panel of community professionals: Jerin Kliewer, COO of Kliewer Farms LLC; Josue Diaz, finance associate for the West Coast MCC; and Rodney Horton, MPA, community development director for the city of Reedley.
PHOTO (from left): Front row—Steven Encinas, Damian Peregrino, Michael Cepeda, Jesus Alvarado, Jazmine Hernandez. Back row—Bryan Feil, associate director, Center for Community Transformation; Carlos Huerta, executive director, Center for Community Transformation; Rodney Horton; Josue Diaz. (FPU photo by Carolina Mueller)
Young adults work to open businesses in Reedley with help from investments made during the Reedley LaunchPad Pitch Fest