PEOPLE TO WATCH
Jessica Cervantes, 18, grew up hearing family members dream about having their own businesses. She dreamed too, but she was leaning toward becoming a doctor until she signed up for an entrepreneurship program at Ferguson High in Miami. For her program project, she invented, after many hours of experimentation, “Popsy Cakes,” cupcakes stuck on an edible cookie stick, a less messy alternative to the regular frosting-covered cupcakes.
Jessica Cervantes [Photo: Eileen Escarda]
Last year, she beat out 25,000 students in the program nationally to win the OppenheimerFunds/National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York. A highlight: A $10,000 prize to seed her business. The worst part: Presenting to the judges at the competition. She says she’s nervous talking face-to-face with strangers.
Cervantes, who hopes to attend the University of Miami next year, is selling small quantities through her website, popsycakes.com, in her spare time. She’s working with a Four Seasons chef to perfect the product, has applied for a patent and, through the foundation, is working with a lawyer on licensing rights. Says Cervantes, “I fell in love with the idea of owning your own business.”