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Pathways Conference Brings Life Changing Choices to Youth

JIT brings together potential employers, network opportunities and community building for youth.

Pathways JIT

Youth, investors, volunteers and staff gathered Saturday, September 10th at Junior Achievement of San Diego for Just in Time’s annual Pathways to Financial Power Conference. The theme – Empowering Life Changing Choices – brought the spirit of Just in Time’s 20th Anniversary to hopeful young attendees. 

Pathways JIT
Pathways JIT

Each year, the PTFP Conference provides youth the opportunity to brush shoulders with potential employers and influential professionals from the business community. For San Diego industry leaders, it’s a chance to connect with bright new talent, resilient young professionals with the skill and drive to energize industries. Life Changing Choices abound. 

“I like how all the different employers and people around the tables have been really welcoming. I’m not too good with my words or with trying to know what I’m looking for and they’ve been really nice and inviting. It’s helped me feel more confident about reaching out and talking with them.”

Nancy, JIT Pathways to Financial Power Participant

“I’m really glad that the San Diego Police Department is [at the Passion Fair] because that’s my area of interest. I got one of the recruiter’s email addresses and I’m going to keep in touch with him. I look forward to five, six years down the road, looking back and saying, ‘Hey, I went to JIT’s PTFP Conference and that’s where I got my job.”

Dulce, JIT Pathways to Financial Power Participant

This year’s keynote guest speaker was Non-Profit Executive Wendy McKinney. She encouraged youth to “work hard, be humble, be patient.” Youth Speaker Jamal Bills shared a personal story of challenge, success and support as he navigated the job market with the help of Pathways to Financial Power staff and coaches.

Pathways JIT
Pathways JIT
Pathways JIT

The conference culminated in JIT’s annual Shark Tank Competition. Aspiring Entrepreneur Lupe Rodriguez took home the first place prize of $3,000 for his original business pitch: Clean Dryer Lint Service. A niche appliance service company inspired by Lupe’s own experience and expertise. 

Just in Time Entrepreneurs Take a Deep Dive with the Sharks

Shark Tank winners

JIT’s fifth annual Shark Tank Competition had everyone on the edge of their seats. Out of 17 aspiring entrepreneurial submissions, three participants pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance at $3,000 in seed money. This year’s winner was Lupe Rodrigues, who plans to reduce home fires with his business Clean Dryer Lint. Below are all three business ideas and how their pitches ranked: 

First Place: Guadalupe “Lupe” Rodriguez – Clean Dryer Lint – A professional dryer vent cleaning service homeowners can schedule annually to ensure efficiency and safety of clothes dryers in homes.  

Second Place: Angela Quijada-Banks – Soulcare Oasis, a 3-month coaching package that provides purpose-led women in business with holistic health coaching, community, and connections to support them in finding a more harmonious relationship to self, purpose and partner. 

Third Place: Stephany Polanco – Sweet Experiences is a luxury picnic business designated to give customers an unforgettable and magical experience, whether that is at a beach, park, or private residence. Where there is tranquility, there is calm. Where there is peace, there is ambiance, and Sweet Experiences provides just that. 

While there can only be one first-place Shark Tank winner (Congratulations Lupe!), this year’s contest held a surprise twist. A group of angel investors led by finance professional Mike Lamb will work with all three finalists from October 4th to November 17th to help them further develop their business plans for a shot at $20,000 worth of seed money. The Angel Investment winner will be announced at JIT’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner celebration.

Be sure to visit the Weekly Wrap Up next week for a deeper dive into Lupe Rodrigues’ winning business pitch for Clean Dryer Lint Company and more information on our Angel Investors.

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