The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center conducted the 2023 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy (YEA) on June 12-16. YEA is a free one-week academic camp sponsored by the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation, and is offered annually to all North Iowa high school students interested in entrepreneurship. Each participant receives a $500 NIACC scholarship sponsored by John Pappajohn. This year’s academy included 12 high school students.
The participants and schools represented were:
- Josh Hanson, Newman Catholic Schools
- Brian Lollar, Clear Lake High School
- Luis Morales-Calles, Belmond-Klemme High School
- Eric Pals, Mason City High School
- Eastyn Petersen, West Fork High School
- Fernanda Ramirez, West Fork High School
- Daytona Randall, Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock CSD
- Fabian Rivera, Belmond-Klemme High School
- Addyson Runde, Northwood-Kensett High School
- Summer Schaer, Mason City Alternative High School
- Blake Vorhes, West Fork High School
- Avery Williams, Home School
Throughout the week-long camp, the aspiring entrepreneurs worked diligently to develop 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. On Tuesday, June 20, 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. The students competed against their peers for a total of $2,600 in cash prizes.
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, and Ashley Page, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs & Client Services at the Pappajohn Center.
Guest speakers for the week were Joyce Martin, Pappajohn Center Marketing and Community Relations Manager; Jayson Ryner, founder of ReEnvision Ag; Brad and Angie Barber, Cabin Coffee; Stacy Doughan, President & CEO of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.
The students presented their businesses to a panel of three judges: Hunter Callanan; Beth Bilyeu, Forest City Economic Development Corporation; and Brook Boehmler, North Iowa Area SBDC. The judges chose three businesses to win the top prizes, with two honorable mention prizes of $250, and six honorable mention prizes of $100. The winners were:
- First Place: Fernanda Ramirez, Garden Goodness - $600 prize
- Second Place: Eric Pals, Pals Lawn Care - $500 prize
- Third Place: Avery Williams, More Mochi - $400 prize
- Josh Hanson, Hanson Property Management - $250 prize
- Addyson Runde, Shade Tree Job Shadowing - $250 prize
- Brian Lollar, All Star Cleaning - $100 prize
- Eastyn Petersen, Petersen Produce - $100 prize
- Daytona Randall, Bow Wow Clips - $100 prize
- Fabian Rivera & Luis Calles, Quick Cast - $100 prize
- Summer Schaer, SpaLuxe - $100 prize
- Blake Vorhes, BV Farms - $100 prize