Orlando, Florida (PressExposure) December 10, 2011 -- Lake Nona-based newspreneur Ashley Cisneros is one of 14 national finalists competing for a $10,000 startup business investment prize, the only program Fellow selected from the Southeast and Florida. Four winners will receive the seed money from the New U: News Entrepreneurs Working Through UNITY initiative, a competitive program for journalists of color who want to become entrepreneurs.
"I'm grateful to live in a country where you can make something profitable out of nothing if you work hard and take smart risks," said Cisneros, 29. "This seed money means opportunity, and will help me hire more writers to meet demand. I want to create jobs."
A former newspaper reporter, magazine editor, tech writer, marketing manager and PR practitioner, Cisneros helps individuals and companies engage their target audiences. Her company, Ashley Cisneros, Inc., produces communications products for clients around the world. In October, Cisneros was honored as a Fellow at the New U national startup boot camp in Las Vegas, Nev. During the camp, Cisneros was mentored by Rod Colón, master networker, executive coach and weekly co-host of the "Your Career Is Calling" radio show. In addition, she learned from world class presenters Sumaya Kazi, CEO of Sumazi; Harry Lin, executive in residence at Idealab; and Mike Green, co-founder of The America21 Project, among others.
"This was an invaluable opportunity to learn directly from seasoned news entrepreneurs about business plan formation, funding opportunities and gain an insider look at working with angel investors and venture capitalists," said Cisneros, who earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in entrepreneurship from the University of Florida.
A portion of each Fellow's score will be determined by the number of votes garnered for his or her pitch. Voting is open from Dec. 8, 2011 through midnight on Jan. 3, 2012, and voters may vote as many times as they like. To vote for Cisneros' business pitch, visit http://unityjournalists.org/newu/newu2011/newu11videos/nahj-video-pitches.