East Stroudsburg. Student makes final round of business plan competition

| 19 Apr 2023 | 04:49

Stelios Melekos, an East Stroudsburg University student, is one of three Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) students set to compete in the final round of the State System Startup Challenge. The students will pitch their original business plans to a panel of judges for a chance to win funds to support their startup or expand their business.

Melekos is a junior business management student with a concentration in entrepreneurship from Churchville, Pa. His company, Blitz Performance LLC, provides anglers with the highest quality and most innovative lures and apparel for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. Blitz Performance products are available to retail customers online at blitzfishingperformance.com and wholesale at tackle shops across five states. Blitz Performance is committed to building a sense of community around the brand by developing the tools to catch more fish and make the most of anglers’ time on the water.

“These student entrepreneurs have innovative and exciting startups that combine business, healthcare and education, which are three fields in high demand in Pennsylvania,” said Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia D. Shapira. “State System universities are preparing thousands of students for success as entrepreneurs, and I commend the supportive faculty and the remarkable ingenuity and energy of the students.”

The top prize is $10,000, and second- and third-place finishers will receive prizes of $5,000 and $2,500, respectively. The finalists were selected from more than 60 students and student teams from across the state-owned public university system.

The students will pitch innovative products in education, healthcare and business—three strong academic areas within PASSHE universities and three industries with worker shortages. The start-up challenges dovetail with PASSHE universities’ efforts to address workforce shortages in education, healthcare, business, social services, engineering and computer science. PASSHE is seeking to increase its appropriation to increase the amount of financial aid available to students who pursue degrees in high-demand areas.

Melekos will go up against Victoria Heffelfinger, a freshman special education student from Pennsylvania Western University (PennWest) and Jake Henry, a senior pharmaceutical product development student.