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JFK University's Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership Announces Semi-finalists in Emerging Entrepreneurs Business Competition

March 14, 2013

Semi-Finalists Will Present Business Plans on April 9 in Concord

Concord, Calif. – JFK University's Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership (IEL)has announced the eleven semi-finalists in the Emerging Entrepreneurs Business Competition.  These semi-finalists will present their business plans on April 9th from 6-8:30 pm. The event is open to the public and will be held at the IEL offices at 2151 Salvio Street, Suite 350, in Concord. The top three competitors will move on to the final stage and will be awarded prizes up to $3,000.

The semi-finalist’s business plans are diverse, including plans from a construction management firm, a sustainable farming non-profit, personal care companies, and truck owners.  The semi-finalists and their companies are:

Bella Colori (Rey Cardenas)
An organized tooling system for hair coloring.

Bla@b Tree (Nikolas Woods)
A social platform to express positive thoughts and combat online bullying.

Carolyn Simon Design (Carolyn Simon)
Jewelry design.

CoCo San Sustainable Farm (Carolyn Phinney)
Fresh produce for schools and food banks grown on a farm using property in a sanitary district facility.

Enclave Enterprises (Dave Litty)
Project management and cost recovery service for commercial projects.

ExpertiGo (Dan Morton)
Network service providing consumers a market to purchase or sell products or activities fast.

Hands with Heart (Lillian Bertz)
Training diverse under-served women to use sewing machines to create unique products that are useful to the modern consumer.

Origins and Routes (Ali Amaro)
Jewelry design.

Sphynx Security (Lynx Crowe)
Cyber Security technology

Truk Bagz (Sean Brennan)
Polypropylene bags designed with pick-up truck owners in mind that protect cargo from all adverse weather conditions.

Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions (Tricia Hoekwater)
Digital asset and paper/organization service

In its first year, the competition was created to celebrate and support innovation and entrepreneurship in small Bay Area startups. Chevron is sponsoring both the competition and a number of other IEL functions to encourage new business growth in the community.

“Chevron is pleased to be the lead sponsor of this program recognizing innovators in a variety of fields and encouraging small business job creation in the Bay Area,” stated Lauren Lyon, Specialist for Global Partnerships and Programs for Chevron Corporation.

Dr. Raul Deju, Director of the IEL explained, “This competition is the perfect way to identify prospective entrepreneurs who need help to get to the next level, whether it’s through funding, marketing or other types of assistance. Through the IEL we can provide direction, mentoring, and contacts for them.”

The three finalists will present their pitches on May 17 at the IEL’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards luncheon at Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville. At that event, the audience will vote on the best business pitch to award the first, second, and third prizes.

IEL’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards will recognize the following business leaders:

Chuck H. Smith Entrepreneurial Leadership Award Winners
Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, one of the leading venture capital firms in the Bay Area.
Randy Haykin, Chairman of Haykin Capital, Managing Director of Outlook Ventures, and a leader in the Gratitude Network.

Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner
Marty Reed, a Principal with the Roda Group and a graduate of JFK University’s MBA program.

Sigma Nu Tau Leadership Award Winner
Mary Huss, Publisher of the San Francisco Business Times.

To purchase tickets to the luncheon, contact or call 925/671-3166. Proceeds from the event will support scholarships for IEL students.

The Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership (IEL) is an initiative of John F. Kennedy University that is designed to stimulate and scale entrepreneurship and job creation in the Bay Area. Underscored by a robust cross-sector partnership, IEL strives to improve our local economic, environmental, and social well-being one student-entrepreneur and one business at a time. Since its inception in January 2011, student entrepreneurs have developed new companies that have received or are in the process of raising nearly $20 million in equity investments.

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About John F. Kennedy University
Founded in 1964, John F. Kennedy University, a non-profit affiliate of the National University System, was among the first institutions of higher education in California committed to lifelong learning for adults. Today, the University’s three Colleges and Continuing Education division provide innovative higher education opportunities to more than 2,000 professionals who, despite a full range of life responsibilities, are determined to advance their education and improve their future. The Continuing Education division provides professional development education to more than 2,500 individuals per year. A pioneer of education that integrates theory and practice, John F. Kennedy University and its students touch the lives of more than 30,000 people in Bay Area communities every year through their support of outreach centers and public programs. For more information, visit

About the National University System
The National University System was established to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st century. The System is uniquely aligned to connect a diverse population of students to a network of innovative educational programs that are relevant to their lives, careers, and the marketplace and are delivered in a format that respects competing life priorities. Dr. Jerry C. Lee has served as the System’s Chancellor since it was founded in 2001. The affiliates of the System are National University; John F. Kennedy University; National University International; the Division of Pre-College Programs, which includes National University Virtual High School and National University Academy; Spectrum Pacific Learning; and WestMed College. Entities related to the System include the National University System Institute for Policy Research; the Center for Integrative Health; the Center for Performance Psychology; and National University Golf Academy. For more information, visit