MU student reaches semi-finals of PASSHE competition

MANSFIELD – Jacqueline Smith, a social work major from Blossburg was honored for reaching the semi-finals of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Business Plan competition at an awards ceremony in Harrisburg in April.

Smith’s plan, “Endless Mountain Caring Hands,” focused on a business that provides in-home non-medical assistance to persons needing help to continue living independently in their own homes.

This was the second annual business plan competition and was open to all students in the 14 PASSHE Universities. Two hundred ten students from across the system entered, and 59 business plans that were submitted met the requirements to be reviewed and judged. Twenty one advanced as semi-finalists.

Smith and the other semifinalists were invited to the awards ceremony, asked to display posters describing their business idea, and were given certificates of award for their accomplishments.

The first place winner, Krutarth Patel of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was awarded a $10,000 prize to help start his business named

The first place prize was sponsored by PSECU. The second place prize of $5,000 was co-sponsored by Hershey Entertainment and Resorts and PNC Bank, and went to Thomas Rounsville Jr. of East Stroudsburg University for his business Integrated Wildlife Forensics. Third place was sponsored by F&M Trust, earning Paul Rosa and Sean Roth of Bloomsburg University $2,500 for their business called

Other MU students who entered and made it to the first judging round were Michael Wanczak, Chambersburg, who proposed a business to manufacture lightweight and flexible use car trailers and was a semi-finalist in last year’s competition; and Carlos Rodriguez, Fairless Hills, who entered his plan to produce learn-to-play piano by ear tutorials for the Spanish speaking community.

Rodriguez is the president of Mansfield Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization and has reached 100,000 views on YouTube with piano covers of popular Latin tunes to build his Javier Melodico brand and begin marketing his tutorials.

The PASSHE Business Plan Competition was organized and produced by a committee of representatives from PASSHE Universities including Ed Foote, director of the Mansfield University Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (MCEL). Foote also served as a judge in the competition.

To learn more about the MCEL, go to entrepreneurial-leadership/ or email