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NIACC students earn seed money in regional pitch competition

MASON CITY – Three student teams representing North Iowa Area Community College competed at the regional level in The Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition held at NIACC on April 12, 2021. Jillian Enke and Paige Rolling (Clear Lake Connected) Preston Kyles (Team Dream Chasers Basketball Academy), and McKelary Robertson (Unheard Voices Clothing) pitched their business ideas to panel members, Candi Karsjens, Pappajohn Center Innovation & Acceleration Director and Tim Putnam, Pappajohn Center Director. Students submitted executive summaries using the one-page Business Model Canvas format and financial projections and were judged on the concept and viability of their business ideas.

Clear Lake Connected and Team Dream Chasers Basketball Academy were awarded $500 as regional winners. Robertson of Unheard Voices Clothing was selected to move on to the state competition on April 28, 2021, and will compete with students from Iowa State University, University of Iowa, Drake University, and University of Northern Iowa. Due to COVID compliance, all state submissions are made electronically and John Pappajohn and his team at Equity Dynamics will choose three winners and award $5000 in seed grants to each.

Both Enke and Rolling attended and were past winners at the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy (YEA) hosted by the NIACC Pappajohn Center, sponsored by the Hanson Foundation and held every summer for high school students interested in creating and nurturing business ideas.

For descriptions on the student businesses please read below:

Clear Lake Connected – Jillian Enke & Paige Rolling
Clear Lake Connected specializes in social media marketing services for small businesses in the Clear Lake area. These services included social media management, the planning of social media posts, content creation, customer interaction, and the creation and revamping of accounts. The company specializes in Facebook and Instagram management, but also provides services for other platforms as well. Value is delivered to clients through these activities by saving them time and increasing their revenue.

Team Dream Chasers Basketball Academy – Preston Kyles
Team Dream Chasers Basketball Academy has the potential to change the way athletes prepare for sports and life. The program provides mentorship and access to resources that propel athletes to their version of success. Participants gain in-depth basketball training that measures development as well as the opportunity to play at a competitive level and gain exposure to scouts and college coaches.

Unheard Voices Clothing – Mckelary Robertson
Unheard Voices Clothing (UVC) delivers value to the customer by offering them trendy and stylish streetwear, that is both unique and socially-conscious and can be worn for any casual occasion. UVC is not only trendy and stylish, but also reasonably priced for the customer segment.

The origin of the competition started 21 years ago. John Pappajohn wanted a way to help student entrepreneurs in pursuing their business ideas while at college in Iowa. The result was the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition where $350,000 has been awarded to student entrepreneurs for years.

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