2024 TB HSBPC Kiara and KieraDuring the 2024 tecBRIDGE High School Business Plan Competition, five out of the nine teams that presented in the live presentation round were from the Greater Hazleton Area. In celebration of this accomplishment, we sat down with two of our area’s participants, Kiara Vasquez and Kiera Kupsho, to learn more about them and their business plan project.

For those who may not know you, tell us who you are, what school you’re representing, and why you’re participating in this year’s competition.

KK – Hi, I’m Kiera Kupsho and I am a senior at the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences. As a finalist in the 2023 tecBRIDGE High School Business Plan competition, I was inspired to develop another plan this year. Last year’s competition helped me become a better presenter and piqued my interest in business-related concepts. Overall, I enjoy developing business concepts that can better my hometown of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

KV - Hi, I’m Kiara Vasquez and I’m a senior at the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences. Although I did not start this project from the very beginning, after working with Kiera I realized that Global Grub was a very good business idea. I loved what the company stood for and what the intentions were behind the business.

How does it feel to represent the community of Hazleton?

KK - Hazleton is such a historic city that has constantly changed since its founding. Throughout its existence, there have been so many groups of people that have resided here. As a member of the Hazleton community, I feel that it is important to honor our former and current residents through consistent innovation and development. I feel that through our business, Global Grub, we can capture the culture of the Hazleton area as just a small screenshot of life in the United States.

KV - It’s nice to represent Hazleton! I’m always trying to give back to my community and often find myself volunteering or participating in events that allow me to connect with the community.

Can you describe the journey of reaching this point in the competition?

KK - This opportunity has required hard work and a large effort. My idea for Global Grub began about a year ago but my interest in the cultures and cuisine of others is what truly started this project.  I am grateful for all the support that I have received from the mentors in the Hazleton area and from individuals within my school. Developing this business plan has made me realize that passion and sacrifice are what makes a business strong.

KV - The idea of making it this far in the competition is so wild to me. In all honesty, I am a little shocked and anxious! When I started to work with Kiera I didn’t have any expectations and worked on it for fun. This is my first year doing the business plan competition and I didn’t expect to make it to the live presentations round. I’m excited to see all the other competitors but also to present our own idea!

What significance does this opportunity hold for you?

KK - This opportunity will allow us to highlight the culture of the Hazleton area and eventually the culture of the United States. Too often, people have a closed-minded attitude, believing that their way of life is the “correct” way. People will hear of international conflicts, not realizing that there is a face for every conflict. By creating a business like this, individuals will realize the similarities that many cultures have. I hope that our product will create a more unified world, even if the unity is established through the cuisine of others.

KV - I am very grateful for this opportunity. Many people don’t get a chance like this to pitch a business idea and have others give their input. It’s nice to see how many opportunities tecBRIDGE provides high school students such as myself!

What advice would you give to fellow students interested in joining the High School Business Plan Competition next year?

KK - I would encourage students to find a problem or sector that they are passionate about. I find it much easier to put effort into a project when it is something that I am passionate about. If the project is near and dear to you, the passion that you have while presenting will shine through. Your audience will see that. Years later, they may not remember your exact project, but rather the passion and expression you had within that project.

KV - I would tell them to just go for it! There is no harm in trying. I think the hesitation about whether their idea is good enough or if they don’t have all the technical stuff situated makes the business plan competition seem scary. I would really emphasize that at the end of the day, they aren’t losing anything and it’s a great opportunity to just experience even if they don’t win!

For more information about tecBRIDGE’s High School Business Plan Competition, contact Jocelyn Sterenchock at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..