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New Jersey Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Names Rutgers Student Regional Winner in Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

The New Jersey chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) – a global network that connects business owners to enhance their lives and businesses – announced that Rutgers University student Kayla Jackson has won first place in the New Jersey regional Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) competition.

An EO program, GSEA is the premier global competition for students who own and operate a for-profit business while attending college. The competition, which took place Feb. 17 at Eisenhower Corporate Campus in Livingston, was judged by six EO New Jersey members: Keith Maddox of J.A. Lee Electric, Susan Michel of Glen Eagle Advisors, LLC, Kurt Olender of OlenderFeldman LLP, Kevin Mahony of, JB Blanchard of RoofDeck Solutions and Adam Schnitzler of The S3 Agency.

Jackson won for her company PeduL, Inc., a higher education crowdfunding platform dedicated to alleviating the financial burdens of college. As the regional winner, she received $1,500 and will go on to compete in the national GSEA finals March 6-7 in Kansas City, Missouri. She will also receive:

  • Two mentoring sessions with Carl Gould, best-selling author, international speaker and CEO of 7 Stage Advisors ($20,000 value)
  • Brand elevation workshop with Adam Schnitzler of The S3 Agency ($10,000 value)
  • Sales and business development consultation with Kopp Consulting ($5,000 value)
  • Intellectual property legal work with Myers Wolin ($2,500 value)
  • Three months of office space and a conference room at Eisenhower Corporate Campus ($5,500 value)
  • Customized financial plan from Tupler Financial ($3,500 value)
  • Marketing analytics lunch & learn with Nick Kraus of Kraus Marketing ($2,500 value)
  • Business and corporate legal advice from Olender Feldman ($2,500 value)

Ephraim Russo of VentureMe, an app that plans surprise events in users’ cities, earned second place and received $500.

“Over the years, a college degree has evolved from a rightful commodity to an indispensable luxury. The necessity of pursuing higher education is rising at the same rate as the costs,” said Jackson. “We created PeduL to lessen that financial burden and to increase access to opportunities. Since we’re in constant pursuit of knowledge, and education is at the center of everything we do, we are honored to have the opportunity to learn from the members of EO New Jersey, and we look forward to competing at the GSEA national competition next month.”

The winner of the national competition will receive a $10,000 cash prize and attend the GSEA global finals in Frankfurt, Germany in April 2017 to compete against the world’s top student entrepreneurs. The winner of the global finals will receive a $20,000 cash prize as well as invaluable in-kind business services provided by EO members and will be named the EO Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year.

Jackson is one of four students (listed below) who was named a finalist and competed in the in the New Jersey GSEA competition.

Student Name Company Name University
Kayla Jackson PeduL, Inc. Rutgers University
Shaaliyah Lyons Together We Conquer Inc. Seton Hall
Ephraim Russo VentureMe Stevens Institute of Technology
Tram-Anh Le IcingAid University of Texas at Dallas

“The GSEA competition is an invaluable experience for students looking to build their businesses,” said Michael Schofel, EO New Jersey’s GSEA chair and former president. “There are so many passionate student entrepreneurs in New Jersey, and it’s rewarding for us as an EO chapter to have the opportunity to help them take their businesses to the next level. Kayla has a real passion for the entrepreneurial journey. We know we’ll see more of her.”

Competition guidelines required that applicants be actively enrolled as an undergraduate at a recognized college or university. The applicants’ businesses must be structured as for-profit or social enterprise and have generated at least $500 in revenue or received $1,000 in investments at the time of application.


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