GRAND JUNCTION She just turned 14, but already Abagale Stone is the CEO of her own company and she just returned from a national competition with some big news. The young entrepreneur flew to Frisco, Texas to compete against other start-up business for a chance to win a $50,000 scholarship.
She competed against 22 other students representing the western half of the United States and got second place.
"You know I think everyone down there was hoping to get first, but I knew there were a lot of great businesses that were down there so I just did my best and I'm glad that I was able to place runner-up," Stone said.
She presented her company, Spot Bakery, to a panel of eight judges. Stone went prepared with a business plan, marketing materials and an example of her very own unique packaging.
"What really impressed the judges, and those who were helping her move forward with her business, is that she has created a unique packaging," Betsy Bair from the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce said.
The packaging she designed is a clamshell container that completely displays the cupcakes and keeps them upright by stacking them vertically.
She had the product entirely manufactured in the United States, using a local engineering firm to help her with the concept, and a 3-D printer to actually make them.
"We are so proud of all of our students. Of course we're proud of Abagale and we're pleasantly surprised that she was runner-up in the semi-finals," Bair said.
This was the first year that students in the Grand Valley were able to be a part of the Young Entrepreneurship Academy. Abagale spent about 3 hours a week outside of school, working on her business with the program.
"I think that education is important, but at the same time I think that drive and passion are equally important," Stone said.
Abagale was the first competitor to present in Texas, which she says was a very nerve wracking experience.
Now that the competition results are in she can focus on the rest of her school year.
"It's definitely a relief," Stone said. "It's good to sleep through the night and not have to spend time worrying about working on my business, but I do know that I am going to continue progressing with it, it's just a lot less pressure."