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Business Plan Competition: Finalist #2, Noel Lumbu and Exploration Dayz

All this week we will be featuring the three finalists for our 2014 Business Plan Competition for Veterans. The goal of the competition is to say “thanks” to our local veterans and to inspire and encourage them to greater success. Ultimately, we hope that this competition will create even more opportunities for veterans and make our community a better place to live.

Our second finalist, Noel Lumbu joined the Army National Guard right out of high school.  In 2004 she was deployed to the Middle East and spent 14 months in Iraq and Kuwait.  Altogether, she spent 6 years on active duty before being honorably discharged in 2011.

In December of that year, Noel and her husband Chris founded Exploration Dayz, an after school program for kids pre-kindergarten all the way through high school, in their city of Greensboro, NC.  She describes her program as a mid-sized after school care facility that provides services to anyone who needs it, regardless of socioeconomic factors.

“We promote healthy child development by engaging children in physical, creative and educational activities,” says Noel.  “We are open later than the average after school care facility (until 8:30 pm) to serve parents who finish work later. We make sure that children not only complete their homework assignments before they go home, but also that they understand the materials covered in class.”

In addition to helping with homework, Exploration Dayz also helps with transportation and even helps older students prepare for tests like the SAT and ACT.  They also started a Healthy Habit program to help children who deal with weight issues develop a more healthy lifestyle.

If they were to win the competition, Noel says she would use the $5,000 for marketing expenses.  “We advertise using the internet, flyers, brochures, and business cards, by attending meetings and presentations, and by word of mouth,” explains Noel.  “Our long-term goal is to be able to advertise through schools and churches that do not have after school programs of their own.” Ultimately, they hope to form more formal partnerships with schools and even expand their program to other cities.

Noel, Chris and their two boys will soon be moving to Knoxville for Chris’s career.  With a well-developed program and an experienced staff already in place, Noel is confident that she can continue to run – even grow – the organization despite the distance.

All three finalists will pitch their plan at the 2014 TVBA Business and Education Expo, January 28 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto are so grateful for people like Chris and Noel, both for their service to our country and for their service to their community.  We welcome them to Knoxville and wish them the best of luck, with the competition and with Exploration Dayz.

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