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NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Hosts Youth Entrepreneurial Academy


This news story was published on July 27, 2018.
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Pictured from left to right are the winners of the pitch competition: Kara Branstad, Ike Branstad, Denzel Decker, Kaleb Osier, and Michael Wallin.

MASON CITY – The North Iowa Area Community College John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (NIACC JPEC) conducted the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy on July 9-13 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 13 high school students. The aspiring entrepreneurs completed the academy which is held as a day camp from 8:30am-4:30pm.

Students were given the opportunity to stay in NIACC’s student housing, and several students elected to do so. Students not staying in the student housing received gas cards to help cover the week’s travel from their homes to NIACC. Additionally, five students received a $500 seed money award for the businesses they developed during the week. The participants and schools represented were:

Issac Branstad                                     Clear Lake High School

Kara Branstad                                     Clear Lake High School

Tony Cadena                                       Mason City High School

Denzel Decker                                    Waukon High School

Clara Dow                                           RRMR School District

Tommy Elias                                       Muscatine High School

Trace Gau                                            Lake Mills High School

Brecken Huisman-Buringurd             St. Ansgar High School

Madelyn Kollasch                               Newman Catholic High School

Charles McManemy                            North Butler High School

Kaleb Osier                                         Charles City High School

Cydney Shackleton                             RRMR School District

Michael Wallin                                    Lake Mills 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. Friday, July 13, 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 that included startup costs and sales projections.

The Academy’s mentors included: Jim Elias, Limitless RN Holistic Health and Startup Grind (Muscatine); Holden Nyhus, Scout Pro (Ankeny); Kelley O’Rourke, NIACC Pappajohn Center (Mason City); Corey Behrens, (YEA Alumni) University of Northern Iowa student and owner of Simplistic Views (Cedar Falls).

Guest speakers for the week included:

Tyler Anderson – Roller City, Tropical Snow, Escape Room. (Being an Entrepreneur)

Brad Barber – Cabin Coffee Franchise (Customer Service and branding)

Shannon Latham – Latham Hi-Tech Seeds and Enchanted Acres (Social Media Marketing)

Spencer Stensrude – Ag Venture Alliance (Investing in your business)

Jessica Graham – Sky High Heels (Protecting your intellectual property)

The students presented their businesses to a panel of four judges: Hunter Callanan, North Iowa Corridor; Beth Bilyeu, Forest City Economic Development; Jessica Graham, Sky High Heels; Brook Boehmler, SBDC.

Lindsey Falk, owner of L.R. Falk Construction, was the keynote speaker.

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

Ike Branstad—Bike Right with Ike!: Bike Right with Ike’s mission is to provide affordable, quality bike training for younger kids within a safe and promoting environment that will leave kids feeling confident in their own abilities. It is a service in which parents can go about their day knowing that their children are in safe hands while preparing them for riding on the road. The outcome is that the community will have better informed, confident, and safe bikers.

Kara Branstad—Marlie’s Mini Donuts: Marlie’s Mini Donuts produces a healthy bite sized alternative to fried donuts, the perfect bite for everyone. It’s a business focused towards an easy snack that kids, adults and everyone in between are able to grab and go. The donuts are a baked alternative to fried, providing a healthy, tasty snack.

Denzel Decker—Decker Delish: Decker Delish is a gourmet cupcake business out of North Eastern Iowa. Decker Delish produces an aesthetically pleasing and delicious tasting cupcake at an affordable price while making the whole process very convenient. Offering free delivery and customized selections while guaranteeing customer satisfaction is key to the success.

Kaleb Osier—Esox Flies by Osier: Esox Flies by Osier, is a one man, online, fly shop. Fly fishing is a hobby that owner, Kaleb Osier, has been hooked on for years. He ties all of his own flies and after customer discovery, found there is a need for high quality flies that are affordable. His motto is “If I wouldn’t fish it, I don’t want you to”.  He plans to sell his products online across the country.

Michael Wallin—Wallin Genetics: Wallin Genetics was founded in the summer of 2017. The goal is to produce quality show pigs at a competitive price. Michael has had a passion for showing pigs ever since he started 4H in 2011. This passion kick-started a desire to breed quality pigs to sell to others. He has identified a need for breeding show pigs in this region allowing an affordable option to existing breeders.

Pictured from left to right: Back Row- Tommy Elias, Tony Cadena, Charles McManemy, Trace Gau, Brecken Huisman-Buringurd, Denzel Decker, Michael Wallin, Kaleb Osier. Front Row – Cydney Shackleton, Clara Dow, Ike Branstad, Madelyn Kollasch, Kara Branstad.

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One Response to NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Hosts Youth Entrepreneurial Academy

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    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 27, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    “Gain fundamental skills required when starting a business’ has a nice ring to it. Well done Mister Pappajohn!