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Pathfinder Tech Students Take Home Top Honors in EnTEENpreneur Challenge

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) held its annual EnTEENpreneur Challenge, a Shark Tank-like entrepreneurial pitch contest, on April 25 at the UMass Amherst Center at Springfield in Tower Square.

Individual students or teams pitched their products to a judging panel consisting of representatives from sponsoring organizations. Each team had two minutes to convince the panel to fund their company. At the end of the competition, two students from Pathfinder Tech emerged victorious with their team, Dread Horror Depot.

“During this event, students gain valuable skills, using JA learning experiences, including creating a business plan, developing a product, and pitching,” said Amie Miarecki, JAWM president. “It’s thrilling to see the passion and pride they put into their pitches; the competition was fierce. We are impressed with the efforts of these entrepreneurs and congratulate the winners.”

Second place was awarded to a student from Putnam Vocational, and third place went to another student from Pathfinder Tech. Recognition was also given to students with the Most Innovative Booth and the Best Tradeshow Booth, as well as five Realistic Standout Awards sponsored by standouttruck.com and Realistic CEO.

First prize is $500 in prize money and a scholarship to Elms College, second prize is $350 in prize money, and third prize is $250 in prize money. The judging panel included Tracey Alves-Lear of Baystate Financial, Terrell Joyner of Financial Guide, Mychal Connolly of Stand Out Truck, Wesley Days of UMass Amherst Center at Springfield, and Sarah Sargent of Valley Community Development. Sponsoring organizations included the UPS Store, Savage Arms, UMass Amherst Center at Springfield, standouttruck.com, and Realistic CEO.

The winning student teams that have a ready-for-sale product to showcase are eligible to submit their plan to the JA USA National Student Leadership Summit held annually in Washington, D.C.