Lavin program student named Entrepreneur of the Year

Jesse Sheldon, center, is presented his Spokane Valley Entrepreneur of the Year award by Central Valley School District Superintendent Ben Small and Katherine Morgan, CEO/President of the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Jesse Sheldon, center, is presented his Spokane Valley Entrepreneur of the Year award by Central Valley School District Superintendent Ben Small and Katherine Morgan, CEO/President of the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Lavin Entrepreneurship Program student Jesse Sheldon was named 2015 Spokane Valley Entrepreneur of the Year by the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber’s Gem of the Valley Gala on Jan. 22, 2016.

Sheldon, a University of Washington student in his third year of studying communications and entrepreneurship, is the founder and president of Inland NW Baby, Spokane’s only diaper bank. Sheldon founded Inland NW Baby as a ninth grader after realizing how much of an impact clean diaper access has on low-income families. Read Sheldon’s founding story here.

Since then, Inland NW Baby has given 200,000 diapers to families in need, as well as gently used children’s clothing, toys and other equipment. The organization partners with Sweet REpeat Kid’s Resale Boutique, where Sheldon plans to help facilitate a job training program and continue supporting new moms.

“I was so honored to be nominated as a finalist next to two amazing women who have also done amazing things in the business community of Spokane. It’s awesome to see the impact Inland NW Baby has on the Spokane community,” Sheldon said.

Other finalists for the award included Carrie Magruder, who founded the BrickHouse Massage & Coffee Bar in 2004, and Nadine Burgess, who has owned Spokane Gymnastics since 2010.

Jesse Sheldon at the ceremony with his mother, Julie Sheldon, who was integral to Jesse's ability to start his organization as a ninth grader.

Jesse Sheldon at the ceremony with his mother, Julie Sheldon, who was integral to Jesse’s ability to start his organization as a ninth grader.

The Lavin Entrepreneurship Program is a highly competitive honors program for undergraduate entrepreneurs of all majors facilitated by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. The Lavin program connects its students with mentors and job/internship opportunities in the Seattle startup space and provides a community of like-minded peers throughout the three-to-four year program.

Sheldon currently serves on the Lavin program executive board, where he helps plan the MentorConnect lunch program to connect founders and CEOs with young entrepreneurs in the Lavin program.