Leadership Fresno awards students for business plans

The Fresno BeeApril 25, 2013 

A high school sophomore's business plan to open an auto mechanic shop received the top prize in a small entrepreneurship competition held Thursday5 at Fresno City Hall.

Vinny Pesqueira, 15, won first place in the Entrepreneurship Excitement Business Plan Competition organized by the 29th class of Leadership Fresno.

Fernando Sanchez, 17, came in second and James Ormand, 17, placed third in the event. All three attend the Kermit Koontz Education Center in Fresno, which serves expelled students from throughout Fresno County.

Leadership Fresno, a civic leadership development program, decided this year to help students learn how to start their own businesses instead of organizing a community fundraiser as other classes have in previous years, said A.J. Johnston, one of this year's 25 members.

The group worked with the Fresno County Office of Education to identify a school with the most need. Then the members met with students twice a week from January through April.

Their efforts ended with the business competition and presentations from 10 students. Pesqueira won a $1,000 scholarship. Sanchez won $750 and Ormand received $500.

"Before I started, I didn't think I could start a business," Pesqueira said. "It was hard to get used to all the financial stuff, but they helped me learn how to organize everything. It seems more simple now."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6495, blee@fresnobee.com or @bonhialee on Twitter.

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