The North Iowa Area Community College John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (NIACC JPEC) conducted the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy on July 21 – August 11, sponsored by the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation. The academy is offered annually and free to all high school students interested in entrepreneurship. Participants receive a $500 NIACC scholarship sponsored by John Pappajohn. The academy included 6 high school students. This year the aspiring entrepreneurs completed the academy over a span of three weeks using online platforms making it a virtual experience. They pivoted where necessary, and adapted to the new hybrid class model.
The participants and schools represented were:
Jillian Enke Clear Lake High School
Matilda Lee Mason City High School
Cosima Munzi Marlborough High School (Los Angeles, CA)
Sydney Neuhring West Fork School District
Keanna Peterson West Fork School District
Paige Rolling Clear Lake High School
Throughout the weeks, the young entrepreneurs worked diligently to progress a business model canvas through Zoom sessions. Students had the opportunity to network with local entrepreneurs during two field days utilizing Covid 19 safety precautions in place at all times. Tuesday, August 11, the final day of the academy the students pitched their business ideas and shared their pitch decks via zoom that included an executive summary, plans to reach, grow and keep customers, and financial projections.
The Academy’s mentors and instructors included: Candace Karsjens, NIACC Pappajohn Center; Kelley O’Rourke, NIACC Pappajohn Center; Anthony Riesen, IWI Special Project Manager; Sami Schupanitz (YEA and NIACC Alumni) recent graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and owner of Sami’s Sock Monkeys; and Alicia Weaver, Prestige Estate Services, Inc.
Guest speakers for the week included:
Tyler Anderson – Roller City, Tropical Snow, Mason City
Angie Barber – Cabin Coffee Franchise, Mason City & Clear Lake
Kelly Mason – Lake Lifestyle, Clear Lake
Jayson Ryner – Vocal Music Director at NIACC, Owner of ReEnvision Ag, Rudd
Andrew Sonquist – Plas-Tech Tooling Inc, Garner
Vicki Sukup – K.B. Emporium, Clear Lake
The students presented their businesses to a panel of four judges: Beth Bilyeu, Forest City Economic Development; Brook Boehmler, SBDC Director; Hunter Callanan, North Iowa Corridor; and Stacy Doughan, President & CEO Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce.
The judges awarded first through fourth place. The winners are:
1st Place ($600) Jillian Enke and Paige Rolling – Clear Lake Connected: Helping local businesses make the most of marketing opportunities with social media management. Clear Lake Connected is already working with their first client.
2nd Place ($500) Matilda Lee – The Five: A collaborative approach to bringing the movies back to downtown Mason City.
3rd Place ($400) Cosima Munzi – Denim Switch: An online application, eco-conscious solution for trading out jeans you don’t want, for jeans you do.
4th Place ($300) Sydney Neuhring and Keanna Peterson – The Art Hub: A new model for bringing art classes and studio space to the community.
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