On a chilly Friday night in November, the Zuventurez team, along with donors, advisors, fellows, and coaches, gathered together at a local Italian Restaurant called Luca Bella to enjoy some savory meals and to raise money for a very important cause. Thanks to the handiwork of the Zuventurez team, investors and donors were able to enjoy a hearty meal with a little entertainment. During the dinner, past competitors, current competitors, and coaches shared their stories and reminded everyone of why the Zuventurez program is so vital to the APU community. Zuventurez boasts as being one of the only entrepreneurial focused organizations on campus and seeks to provide resources like personal coaching, networking, and even funding to students looking to start their own business. The Zuventurez Pitch Competition has provided entrepreneurial minded students with the opportunity to win up to $15,000 as seed money for their business for the last 6 years. This is all possible thanks to the generous donors and investors that believe in the mission of Zuventurez to help young entrepreneurs succeed.

The dinner at Luca Bella was a time for the kind hearted donors of Zuventurez to raise money to help make this year’s Pitch Competition possible. Here’s what you missed:

Fellow Shayanne Wright

Bright eyed, passionate entrepreneur and past winner of the Zuventurez Pitch Competition, Shayanne Wright, shared with us her experience with the Zuventurez program. Currently a full time owner of her Company “Left”, Shayanne dove head first into her business after competing in the Zuventurez Pitch Competition. Shayanne expressed her thankfulness for a space where young entrepreneurs can be vulnerable and ask for help before entering the business world. She explained that when any young entrepreneur is first starting out they are going to have questions and a lot of them. An organization like Zuventurez is extremely important for young entrepreneurs because it allows them not only a place where they can be honest with themselves and receive constructive criticism but also gives them a leg up on the competition once they enter the business world. Thanks to the help of Zuventurez, Shayanne was able to completely commit herself to her business and is coming into all kinds of success.

Coach Brian Keith

The next to share was current coach Brian Keith. Brian explained that he found Zuventurez on accident after offering his help to APU, he ended up being connected to Zuventurez through our very own Director, Jay Sherer. Jay asked Brian if he had ever done business coaching and after taking a leap of faith, Brian became an official Zuvneturez coach and has never looked back. “It has completely changed the trajectory of my life,” Brian told us as he explained the way that Zuventurez creates lasting networking opportunities that can last a lifetime. Brian also let us know that Zuventurez has had one of the greatest impacts on his life and has shaped his life to what it is today.

Advisors Dean and Lindsey Rehfeld

Making a special appearance, guests and advisors Lindsey and Dean Rehfeld spoke to us about their passion for the Zuventurez cause. They shared the importance of programs like Zuventurez in that they foster students with visions to give back even after they're gone. Lindsey explained that she loves to be a part of Zuventurez because she has a deep desire to speak into students lives and loves to encourage them to become entrepreneurs. Lindsey and Dean are just a few of the many advisors with the same vision for students; a vision to work with and challenge students to come out changed and better than they were than when they arrived. The Rehfeld’s expressed their unending support for the program and will continue to be a part of the cause.

Fellow James Crawford

Along with Shayanne, fellow and past winner, James Crawford ended the night by sharing his experience with Zuventurez. After winning Zuventurez with his company “Venture Leather”, James became a full time entrepreneur with an incurable desire to travel. During his time, James shared his fondness of Zuventurez and its’ mission to help young entrepreneurs be exposed to what the business world is like outside of college. His favorite part of the program is the environment in which constructive feedback is given to participants in a way that is loving, yet also allows them to be self reflective in order to be the most successful version of themselves. “Knowing you have the support of this group means a lot when you're in the trenches,” James told us while discussing the struggles every entrepreneur will face during and after college. He went on to share that everyone involved in Zuventurez is looking out for each other’s best interest and is there to support and challenge each other to be the best they can be. “I’m incredibly thankful to be a part of it,” James concluded.

The Evening Coming to a Close

The Zuventurez Pitch-In Dinner was one for the books! It was a beautiful night full of community, pasta, and of course, giving. The Zuventurez team is on the road to raising $30,000 for this year’s PITCH competition, and thanks to the help of our generous donors, we are one step closer to reaching our goal. Our competition truly would not be possible without the help of our donors, advisors, and coaches. To everyone who is involved in our program, we would like to say thank you. It’s because of selfless, entrepreneurial minded people like these individuals that the Zuventurez program has the opportunity to change the lives of students and transform them from dreamers to accomplished business men and women.

-Haley Scott