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Warren woman wins $5K grant from YBI

Small business owner among 4 to compete

YOUNGSTOWN — A Warren small business owner among four who completed the Youngstown Business Incubator’s WE Launch accelerator program won a $5,000 grant.

Andrea Hudson owns Cheer Image Iconz, a nationally ranked community-based recreation cheer program. She won the pitch competition that included three other women in this cohort of the nine-week program designed for women entrepreneurs to develop their businesses.

Hudson plans to use the money on rent for a permanent location for practice.

“I have learned so much about myself and how a village of women can learn, support and grow each other throughout the entrepreneur process. I was about to give up my dream of opening my own cheer gym due to being scared and not having the knowledge of the business aspect, but was quickly reminded as to why I matter and why they matter.”

Other program participants were Leslie Dunlap, FattyCakes Soap Company in Warren; Jiquala Rushton, Achieve Beyond Your Goals Career Employment in Youngstown; and Linda Barton, Sweet Memories Vintage Tees in Girard.

Because of the viral outbreak, participants and speakers met on Zoom instead of traditional in-person classes. Going virtual provided a new challenge and concern the women wouldn’t connect.

“My biggest worry was that the ladies wouldn’t feel that bond and that sense of community and sisterhood they get from being in person, but the end result proved that it was a worry for nothing,” Stephanie Gilchrist, WE program director, said.

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