by Mike Vogel
Updated 6 yearss ago
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.”
On the Record
In the young and growing electronic medical record field, David Dyell says his edge is how his company’s product was designed: By spending lots of time in hospitals watching nurses and doctors. Dyell’s iSirona (Sirona was a Celtic goddess of healing) makes possible the feeding of data from patient monitors and virtually any medical device — ventilators, blood-gas analyzers and so on — to an electronic medical record. He is raising $7 million from investors to expand sales and marketing. With President Obama’s and the industry’s emphasis on electronic records, Dyell seems to have timed his product right. His initial target market is community hospitals. Dyell, 38, a Michigan native, has spent 18 years on healthcare systems integration. “The end goal is to make sure we deliver better care to the patient.”
Thriving on Obsolescence
|Norberto Ruiz, Liza Ordonez-Ruiz