On Friday, December 14 at Kent State University at Trumbull, Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley hosted 43 teams of fifth and sixth-grade students from Champion, Howland, Lakeview, and Niles schools to participate in an entrepreneurship workshop. 

According to a news release, 152 students learned how to do market research, develop a new product and how to market that product.  

Volunteer mentors from FactSet Research, Kent State University at Trumbull and other local businesses guided the students through the workshops. 

The groups were coached on their pitch by students from YSU's Pi Sigma Epsilon, a professional fraternal organization for sales, marketing, and management. 

After a morning of training, eight teams were chosen as semi-finalists to present before Pizza Joe Corporate judges Joe Seminara, President/Founder, Katie Seminara-DeToro, CMO and Tom Colangelo, Head of Franchise Relations and owner of Salem Pizza Joe's. 

Also on hand from Pizza Joe's corporate was Jessica Seminara-Tomczky, COO. 

The winning team from Lakeview consisted of Ava Bacon, Lucas Easton, Isabella Isenberg, and Will Kirila. They sold the panel of judges on "The Italian Philly" pizza, with the tagline, "It's not just made in Philly." 

The news release stated that Pizza Joe's was impressed by all the teams. "We were extremely pleased with the attention to detail in the pitches, which made it very difficult for us to select three finalists.  We based our final decisions on cohesive presentation, the ability to answer our questions on the fly, and, of course, flavor concept," said Katie Seminara-DeToro. "This program was an awesome way for us to mentor young entrepreneurs and all participating schools can be proud of the care and thought their students put into their concepts."

Joe Seminara added, "There's some of you I'd hire tomorrow to go out and sell pizza for me." 

The second place concept was "The Sweet Tooth Pizza" by Niles Middle School students Savanna Court, Ryan Lanham, Vincent McCullough, and Sammi Wells, and the third place concept was "Breakfast Boss" by Niles Middle School Students Jacob Holloway, Brian Jones, Addison Odille, and Elizabeth Rossi.  

"The Italian Philly" pizza will be put into a limited time production at Pizza Joe's in Ohio next year.  A portion of the proceeds will go to future Junior Achievement programming and innovation challenges. 

Junior Achievement entrepreneurship programs are underwritten in part by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation of Northeast Ohio, which champions the entrepreneurial spirit, contributes to a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, and leads in the burgeoning field of entrepreneurship education.