The North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) held its annual Youth Entrepreneurial Academy (YEA) on June 20-24. This free academy is offered to all high school students interested in entrepreneurship. Participants receive a $500 NIACC scholarship sponsored by the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation and John Pappajohn when they attend NIACC. This year 13 area high school students completed the academy which is held as a day camp from 8:30am-4:30pm. This is the fourth year the Lean Canvas curriculum has been used.
This year the students were given the opportunity to stay in NIACC’s new student housing with several students electing to do so. The students not staying in the student housing received gas cards to help cover the week’s travel from their homes to NIACC. Additionally six students received $500 seed money for the businesses they developed during the week. The participants and schools represented were:
Travis Brick Mason City High School
Blake Buttweiler Mason City High School
Ethan Evans Lake Mills High school
Melonie Gretillat Mason City-Newman
Katie Hirv Rockford High School
Carsen Johnson Mason City High School
Alex Kreitlow Clear Lake High school
Morgan Krull Rockford High School
Mariah McKenzie Charles City High school
Allisa O’Dell Hampton-Dumont High
Sami Shupanitz Mason City High School
Trevor Singh Charles City High school
Tyson Stromer Charles City High school
On Friday, June 24, the final day of the academy, the students pitched their business ideas by submitting an executive summary that included a company description, financial plans, and business model key measures which included startup costs and sales projections. The Academy’s mentors included: Jim Elias, Muscatine Community College (facilitator); Holden Nyhus, Scout Pro; Jeffrey Short, Entrepreneur (Bleacher Buddies), YEA Alumni; Corey Behrens, YEA Alumni; and Kelley Crane, NIACC Pappajohn Center.
Special thanks to Luis Garcia of Mr. Taco and Cabin Coffee for waking us up every day!
Tony Halsted from Hoovers Hatchery in Rudd was the keynote speaker and was able to share his journey. Hoover’s Hatchery was awarded the Neil Smith SBDC Award and the SBA Entrepreneur of the Year.
Guest speakers for the week included:
· Tyler Anderson, Roller City. (Being an Entrepreneur)
· Brad Barber – Cabin Coffee Franchise (Customer Service)
· Miriah Whitehurst – Marketing #360 (Social Media marketing)
· Kayla Kearns, YEA & NIACC Alumni; college student
· Regatta Ollinger, YEA & NIACC Alumni (Tropical Sno)
The young entrepreneurs presented their business idea to a panel of five judges: Rick Whalen, Butler County REC; Mary Hopper, Natural Plus Nursery; Renee Anderson, Project Manager, Grants & Workforce Initiatives; Barrett deCathelineau, Senior Vice President – NSB Bank; and Tyler Anderson, Roller City.
The judges chose six companies to win $500 seed monies. The winners were:
Sami Shupanitz–Sock Monkey’s & More: Sock Monkey’s & More is a business created with the goal to bring a smile to all customers. Sock Monkey’s & More offers everything from personalized items to monkey-making courses. Our focus is to promote the value of a handmade item. Knowing that an individual was able to make their own product will have meaning to them and hold more memories. The simple task of sewing seems to now more than ever be something most individuals are not able to do. During our courses sewing will be an essential tool that will be thoroughly taught. Classes can be something to do as a family, for a birthday party, or for anyone looking to create their own handmade monkey. Along with classes. Sock Monkey’s & More offers handmade monkeys of multiple patterns, an assortment of monkey clothing and themes, along with build your own monkey kits.
Travis Brick/Carsen Johnson–Lawn 911: We are a lawn care service for anybody who needs it. We have the highest quality equipment, this makes it better for the clients’ lawns and for the company’s price points. This allows us to finish yards faster and be more cost effective. The equipment has revolutionary zero-turn technology that enables us to make sharper turns and close trimming around trees, shrubs, bushes, and many other obstacles that may be in your yard. We will provide tree trimming and pruning, hedge trimming, mowing, and bagging of leaves and lawn clippings, and power washing. We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our services. We believe that customer service is key and if you are not satisfied neither are we. Lawn911 – we help you when you have had a lawn day.
Melonie Gretillat–School Snapz: Worrying about getting the perfect photo of your high school child at their sporting event? No need! I’ll be there to get your perfect photograph! Now you don’t have to worry about missing the big winning play! That heavy camera gear is no longer a worry for you. Just picture that at School Snapz! These photos are lasting memories for your child/grandchild’s life. These photos can be used for picture frames, graduation parties, banquets, and much more! School Snapz is a photography business with a twist. School Snapz is not an ordinary photography business photographing weddings, seniors, babies, etc.. School Snapz is focused on high school events working with the schools to be able to walk near/onto the sidelines/field. There is no other business like this in Northern Iowa. School Snapz is there to take your perfect photo. You don’t need to lug your heavy camera gear into the sporting events and worry about changing the lenses for a better zoom. We are here to assure that you have the perfect snapz of your high school student.
Katie Hirv/Morgan Krull–That Princess Girl Entertainment: That Princess Girl is a unique, memorable, and magical form of entertainment founded in Rockford, Iowa. Our company is a children’s character entertainment service in which employees arrive at your child’s birthday party or special event dressed as a well-known princess. That Princess Girl is highly devoted to spreading happiness, and granting your child’s wish of meeting their long-beloved heroes! We pride ourselves on ensuring a smile and satisfaction at every event.
That Princess Girl is also one of the only character entertainment businesses in northern Iowa. We are one of the few character businesses that provide volunteer work outside of the business. That Princess Girl has partnerships with Opportunity Village in Clear Lake, IA, Make a Wish: Iowa, My Happy Place, and Mercy Ambassadors in Iowa. We are dedicated to giving back to the community, and providing happiness, smiles, and little bit of magic wherever possible!
Mariah McKenzie–Popping Flowers: Popping Flowers, my company, makes flower accessories out of empty soda cans. Soda-can flowers are a unique wearable art that can be incorporated into any outfit. As Coco Chanel once said “Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” For me this goes along with my soda can flowers. These flowers are not just an accessory item, they are an art. Each flower is handmade by me and made to be perfect. Every large flower takes one to two cans to make depending on the size of the can. If I’m making 30 flowers per month I’m recycling around 45 cans per month. In a year I recycle 540 cans. Multi-million dollar companies have made millions of dollars of profit from selling recycled products to customers.
Blake Buttweiler–In the Zone: In the Zone is a business where I will be giving lessons to elementary to middle school aged children. The world today is a busy place filled with technology, fast food and reasons to not go outside. In fact, according to cdc.gov in 2012 18% of kids aged 6-11 were obese.
In the Zone is a fun way to get kids out of the house and playing sports. I offer individual or small group lessons that focus on basketball from the skills of dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, defense and even learning about the games. In the Zone will help kids who are serious about basketball but also those who are not. In the Zone can be an opportunity for kids to just get out of the house and have fun while the parents relax, do chores, or even their own work out. In both cases however, I will act as a mentor to the kids and focus on building character, sportsmanship and being a good teammate.
Photo caption: 2016 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy
Pictured from left to right: Sami Shupanitz, Alissa O’Dell, Mariah McKenzie, Katie Hirv, Blake Buttweiller, Trevor Singh, Morgan Krull, Ethan Evans, Carsen Johnson, Kelley Crane, Jim Elias, Tyson Stromer, Travis Brick, Alex Kreitlow, Melonie Gretillat, Holden Nyhus, Jeffrey Short
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