Cheer Image Iconz Wins YBI’s $5K WE Launch Grant

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Four entrepreneurs have graduated from the Youngstown Business Incubator’s WE Launch program, with one taking home a $5,000 grant.

Andrea Hudson, founder of Cheer Image Iconz in Warren, won the pitch competition Aug. 19. Cheer Image is a nationally ranked cheerleading program with the objective of “developing powerful and self-confident athletes,” Hudson said in a statement.

She plans on using the grant to rent a site in Warren that will give Cheer Image Iconz a permanent place to practice. 

“I am truly honored to be a part of the WE program,” she continued. “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.”

Also graduating from the program were Leslie Dunlap of FattyCakes Soap Co. in Warren, Jiquala Rushton of Achieve Beyond Your Goals Career Employment in Youngstown and Linda Barton of Sweet Memories Vintage Tees in Girard.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this cohort of the WE Launch program – part of the YBI’s larger Women in Entrepreneurship program – met virtually for the nine-week course.

“The virtual classes provided us with a new challenge, but it wasn’t something the WE Program couldn’t handle,” said Stephanie Gilchrist, director of the WE Program. “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.” 

Pictured: Andrea Hudson, founder of Cheer Image Iconz.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.