Cheyney Graduate Student Christopher Rogers Reaches Top Tier of PASSHE Business Plan Competetion

April 4, 2012

Photo by Stan Banks

Photo by Stan Banks

Cheyney University Graduate Student, Christopher Rogers, represented the University at a gathering of 25 finalists in the 2011-2012 PASSHE Student Business Plan Competition in Harrisburg at The Pennsylvania Capitol East Wing Rotunda on Monday, April 2. The competition was the first of it's kind in the PASSHE system.

Reginald Whiteside, Project Development Coordinator of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, accompanied Rogers to the event. "We are very proud of Christopher Rogers and his business idea, Chester Community Publishing. Christopher finished in the top 5 of 236 applicants from the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Universities. The project, Chester Community Publishing, was proposed as a means to increase literacy in the immediate Chester area by using community experiences and imaginations to create content that is relevant, informative, and entertaining. For those who take the leap of exposing their thoughts and other musings to the public we provide a favorable 50/50 split of profits from the sale of their work."

Rogers notes, "This project offers a triple bottom line. We measure our success based on profitability, sustainability, and community impact. We find reading and writing of personal experiences to be a win-win situation for all parties involved and the sharing of information develops community camaraderie and improves learning outcomes. Stories are everywhere—Just write it."

Students from the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities – many of them budding entrepreneurs themselves – were invited in the fall to develop a plan for a start-up business and to submit it in the first PASSHE Student Business Plan Competition. Twenty-five students were chosen as finalists in the competition and were recognized during the April 2 program.

Made possible through a Keystone Innovation Grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the sponsorship of the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU) and J.P. Morgan, the competition was designed to provide student entrepreneurs a real-world opportunity to pitch their original business plans and to win funds to assist in the start-up of their businesses. PSECU President Gregory Smith participated in the awards programs along with PASSHE Board of Governors Chair Guido M. Pichini and PASSHE Chancellor Dr. John C. Cavanaugh.

Winners of the completion will be able to use grant funds for business plan development; product prototype; legal, accounting, marketing and commercialization support; and/or to purchase specialized equipment if essential to their business development.

The competition was launched during the fall semester and was open to all of the nearly 120,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the 14 PASSHE universities. A total of 236 students submitted business ideas in the competition. Of those, 49 business venture profiles were selected as semi-finalists. The 25 finalists were selected by a panel of judges that included Michael Gildea, executive director of the Pennsylvania Angel Network; Pam Martin, director of the South Central Region of Ben Franklin Technology Partners; James Steeley, assistant vice president of finance for the Pennsylvania State Employee Credit Union; Finesse Cobb, vice president of Apparel, Inc.; and Michael March, an analyst with Osage Venture Partners.