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May 2017

JD’s Story: Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

May 8, 2017

First Source had the pleasure of once again participating on the panel of judges for MVCC’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investors Presentations.

It was the first time that JD Arrante, a Financial Services Rep at First Source, participated. He enjoyed his experience very much.

JD Shares his story:

It was great to see so many young entrepreneurs speak with passion about business ideas that they had. It was also great that we as a panel were able to help some of these young people start their dreams of business ownership.

The winner of the competition moved on to represent our area in a regional competition, while another competitor was given a scholarship to MVCC. This was one of the largest groups that the program has ever had, and we are hoping for even more participation in next year’s group.

I became involved this year when one of our long-time judges was unable to participate, and I filled their slot. What an awesome experience! I hope to be asked to come back for future competitions.

The team chosen to move on to the regional competition named their presentation, “Blended Feast”. Their idea was to have a bicycle with a blender attached to the back of it. The blender was powered by peddling the bike in place. Everyone in this group is a member of the Utica Community Garden, and that is where they came up with the idea. They’d like to take their bicycle blender to events for interactive activities, e.g. people, called “spinners”, can power their own smoothies. They believe it would be great for Farmer’s Markets and similar events.

Blended Feast is a social-enterprise, youth-established business with the mission to return 100% of profits back into their urban garden program, to continue the cycle of empowering future “spinners”. Blended Feast wants to change the story of food “apartheids”, to enhance nutritional, physical, and mental health in an organic way: gardening. The Blended Feast “spin team” builds awareness while providing a unique, locally sourced product.

Though I am not currently involved in any other community initiatives, I am a proud alumnus of MVCC, and I am very pleased with all that the college does in our community—at both the collegiate level as well as with local middle and high schools—to promote the value of education. 

My favorite part of the whole experience in giving back as a panelist was being able to give a prospective student a scholarship to the college. It really felt great!





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