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Teen achieves business success

(above) Minnechaug sophmore Corey Polom is flanked by his parents. On Oct. 2 Polom received a $500 scholarship at the annual banquet of the Western Massachusetts Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.
Reminder Publications submitted photo
Corey Polom of Wilbraham, a sophomore at Minnechaug Regional High School, received a $500 scholarship at the Oct. 2 annual banquet of the Western Massachusetts Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He was recognized for his business, Polom's Personalized Pillows. In his acceptance speech, Polom thanked his family for their support and for their "passion for pillows."

The Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame is located at Springfield Technical Community College, in the Scibelli Enterprise Center. The annual banquet, held at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, is attended by nearly 500 business leaders. Proceeds from the banquet are used to fund entrepreneurship education for area youth.

A highlight of the banquet program is the recognition of two students as Manny's YES! (Young Entrepreneurship Scholars) of the Year. They each receive a $500 check from Manny's TV and Appliance, to be used toward their post-secondary education costs or as an investment in their business ventures.

Polom was the first place winner in the STCC Entrepreneurial Institute's 2008 regional YES! Business Plan Competition, where, according to Entrepreneurial Institute director Diane Sabato, he impressed the judging panel with his professional presentation skills and his thorough grasp of every aspect of running his business. Polom completed his business plan and launched his custom-made pillow business while a freshman at Minnechaug, and continues to build and grow the business.

Polom saw the possibilities of owning his own business while in middle school, where he learned to use a sewing machine. He converted that newly-acquired skill into a custom pillow business, limited only by his and his customers' imaginations.

Polom credits his success to his teachers, Mrs.Guziec and Mrs. Jeserski, who helped him along the way. He also thanked his parents and family for supporting this opportunity. Sabato said, "Corey has worked hard to achieve his goals and has a long and bright entrepreneurial future ahead of him."

The other YES student winner was Viktoriya Romanchenko of Holyoke, co-founder of the custom gifts business Kristoriya. She and her partner Kristin Thornton are tenants in STCC's Student Business Incubator.

Each year the Western Mass. Entrepreneurship Hall of fame inducts a select few individuals and families from the past and present of Western Mass., who have founded businesses which have been important in the economic development of this region.

Five families or companies were inducted this year into the Class of 2008: Baystate Health, the Jacobson family of OMG Inc., the Samble family of Belmont Laundry, the Scherff family of the Student Prince Restaurant, and the Young family of W.F. Young Company, makers of Absorbine Jr.

Additionally, four companies, representing each of the western counties of Massachusetts, received recognition for business achievement. Honored this year were, from Berkshire County: Hi-Tech Mold and Tool Inc. in Pittsfield, founded by William Kristensen Sr.; from Franklin County:Dean's Beans in Orange, founded by Dean Cycon; from Hampden County: Microtest Labs Inc., in Agawam, founded by Steven Richter; and from Hampshire County: Pioneer Valley Travel, in Northampton, founded by Martha Borawski.