2021 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy Held at NIACC

2021 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy Held at NIACC

The North Iowa Area Community College Pappajohn-SBDC conducted the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy on June 14-18 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. This year’s academy included 12 high school students. The aspiring entrepreneurs completed the academy which is held as a day camp from 8:30am-4:00pm.The participants and schools represented were:

  • Sarah Anderegg - Newman Catholic High School
  • Solby Chute - Clear Lake High School
  • Tana Dean - Clear Lake High School
  • Shelie Dryer - West Hancock High School
  • Madeline Ford - West Hancock High School
  • Katrina Halonen - Forest City High School
  • Karla Lara - Mason City High School
  • Christopher Molander - Clear Lake High School
  • Chase Potter - Osage High School
  • Christian Rodriguez - Mason City High School
  • Marlene Vargas-Vazquez - Mason City High School
  • Kendra Whelan - Mason City High School

Throughout the entire week, the young entrepreneurs worked diligently to progress a business model canvas. Students had the opportunity to network with local entrepreneurs, develop leadership skills, and gain fundamental skills required when starting a business. Tuesday, June 22, the students pitched their business ideas by submitting an executive summary that included a company description, financial plans, and business model key measures that included startup costs and sales projections. Additionally, five students received a $500 seed money award for the businesses they developed during the week.

The Academy’s director and mentor was Kelley O’Rourke, School Partnership Entrepreneurial Coordinator at the Pappajohn Center. The facilitator was Candi Karsjens, Pappajohn Center Director of Innovation and Acceleration. Mentors included: Jayson Ryner, Director of Vocal Music at NIACC, Founder of ReEnvision Ag; Camille Urban, Patent Attorney and consultant; Beth Bilyeu, Forest City Economic Development; Maddie Kollasch, YEA Alum, Newman Catholic graduate and future NIACC student; and Paige Rolling, YEA Alum, Clear Lake graduate, founder of Clear Lake Connected.

Guest speakers for the week were Brad Barber, Cabin Coffee Franchise; Tyler Anderson, Roller City and Tropical Sno owner; Joyce Martin,  Pappajohn Center Marketing and Communications Coordinator; Spencer Stensrude, Ag Ventures Alliance and YEA Alum; Mary Jo Vrba, NIACC Admissions Specialist.

The students presented their businesses to a panel of four judges: Hunter Callanan, North Iowa Corridor; Molly Watson, owner of Home Style; Ronnie Pitzen, retired from OmniTel; Rick Whalen, retired EDC Director of Butler/Franklin Co.

The judges chose five businesses to win an additional $500 seed money award. The winners were:

Shelie Dryer - NISS: NISS is a personal shopping service that helps the homebound and busy individuals living in small communities. Utilizing phone calls and texting, customized shopping is provided in the Britt and Kanawha communities.

Christopher Molander - Molander Magic: Molander Magic is an entertainment service. Christopher is a magician providing a magical experience at birthday parties, events and special occasions.

Chase Potter - Clean Club: Clean Club is a golf club and cart cleaning service that allows golf course members to spend more time with their family in a beautiful, clean cart, rather than spending time doing it themselves.

Christian Rodriguez – A Cut Above: Lawn and Landscapes is a lawn maintenance and decorative landscape company offering a wide selection of services within the care, landscape and hauling aspects of our industry.

Marlene Vargas Vazquez – El Mercadito Hispano: El Mercadito Hispano is a retail marketplace helping the North Iowa Hispanic communities and others who want to purchase authentic Hispanic products and merchandise such as vegetables, herbs, snacks, drinks and more.

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