CLEARWATER – This summer, Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay and its partners graduated nearly 600 students from its STEM TEC Summer Career Institute in the Tampa Bay area.
During the four-week program, students participated in the JA Shark Tank Be Entrepreneurial Award Competition, in which they created their own businesses. One winner from Pinellas and Hillsborough counties were selected for the graduation ceremonies.
Students came up with their own business venture, in which they offered a product or service and then had to create a PowerPoint presentation detailing every aspect of their company, from location, employee costs and benefits to future stales projections.
The Pinellas County Shark Tank Winners were Nura Shields-Hedeia, Christian Cantero, Erik Gonzalez and Erik Allen for their idea, Frozen Dreams yogurt shop that specializes in lactose-free product. The judging panel for Pinellas was made up of Aundre Green, director of human resources and business unit ethics officer for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems; Ann Shaler, marketing manager at Bank of America; and Rene Watts, senior human resource manager from Honeywell Aerospace.
The Hillsborough winners were Olivier Milour, Jonathon Nieves, Calvin Ray and Zain Shah for their ideas, JAKS, an innovative shoe available in retail stores using “Flexdisplay,” a waterproof screen that projects downloaded designs on your JAKS through a USB port on the heel of the shoe.
The judging panel for Hillsborough was Bob Conigliaro, community relations vice president for Caspers Company McDonald’s Restaurants; Debra Faulk, community affairs officer at Wells Fargo; and Sean Flynn from GTE Financial. The celebrity sharks from both Pinellas and Hillsborough asked tough questions, but the students were prepared, and the sharks mentioned how impressed they were with the students’ answers.