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TCC will be closed Wednesday, June 19, in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.

TCC biz whiz captures second place in global competition

Tidewater Community College Funeral Services student Jaden Fowlkes took second place in an entrepreneur competition held at the Virginia Beach Campus on Jan. 21.

He was one of six Virginia student entrepreneurs who presented their businesses in a shark-tank style competition for the ultimate prize of up to $50,000.

All six students started a business while in college and competed in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. They pitched ideas to a panel of judges, with ideas ranging technology, board games and real-estate.

Jaden with his parents Jeff and Tonya McDowell.

“The event was amazing, even life-changing,” Jaden said. “It made it easier to see the value of my business and boosted my resolve of helping funeral homes better serve their families with technology.”

Jaden, 19, learned the ropes of the funeral services business as a teenager working for Fitchett-Mann Funeral Services in South Norfolk.

Today, he has his own business, J. Fowlkes Consulting, and provides branding, marketing and access to needed technology for funeral homes.

“I’m working to pull funeral homes into the 21st Century by connecting them with live streaming; cyber security and database management; funeral home administration; and website and social media support,” Jaden said. “I want them to have access to the best technology at a fair price so they can meet the needs of their clients.”

The Grassfield High graduate plans a career in the field and is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Services which he will complete in 2024.

Jaden credits Dean Nancy Prather-Johnson with helping him on his journey and being a mentor and one of his biggest supporters. “She has been a lifesaver and connected me with so many opportunities, including this one!”

Two other TCC students were recognized during the competition including Maria Arely Jimenez who earned 4th place and Lexus Ashley Lee for 6th place.

Winners received certificates, mentorship and investment opportunities. Virginia Commonwealth University student Jack Phillip Oppenheim was the 1st place winner. He will compete in the final competition that will be held in Africa.

For more information about TCC business programs and opportunities, contact Prather-Johnson at