NIACC youth entrepreneurs

Picture, left to right (back row): Mattilyn Flack, Madelyn Kollasch, Cydney Shackleton, Clara Dow, Paige Rolling, Keanna Peterson. Front row: KJ Barkema, Ean Pringnitz, Trace Gau, Chloe Anderson, Brecken Huisman.

The North Iowa Area Community College John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center conducted the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy on June 10-14.

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 academy is sponsored by the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation. 

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, four students received a $500 seed money award for the businesses they developed during the week.

The participants and schools represented were:

Chloe Anderson, Forest City High School; KJ Barkema, North Iowa Christian School; Clara Dow, Rudd Rockford Marble Rock School District; Mattilyn Flack, Hampton Dumont; Trace Gau, Lake Mills High School; Brecken Huisman, St. Ansgar High School; Collin Kollasch, Newman Catholic High School; Madelyn Kollasch, Newman Catholic High School; Keanna Peterson, West Fork School District; Ean Pringnitz, Mayo High School; Paige Rolling, Clear Lake High School; Cydney Shackleton, Rudd Rockford Marble Rock School District.

Throughout the entire week, the young entrepreneurs worked 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.

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.

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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); Sami Schupanitz (YEA and NIACC Alumni), University of Northern Iowa student and owner of Sami’s Sock Monkeys.

The students presented their businesses to a panel of four judges: Hunter Callanan, North Iowa Corridor; Beth Bilyeu, Forest City Economic Development; Jessica Graham, Jane Fischer & Associates, Sky High Heels; Tim Esbeck, MBT Bank; Ronnie Pitzen, OmniTel.

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

KJ Barkema — River City Mini Golf: River City Mini Golf will be a mini golf course located in Southbridge Mall in Mason City, Iowa. RCMG will feature holes based on the history of the North Iowa region and businesses in North Iowa.  

Mattilyn Flack — Trade Customs: Trade Customs is a manufacturing business that specializes in customized machined products.  

Trace Gau -- Crystal Sky Imagery: Crystal Sky Imagery is an aerial imaging and videography company that uses drones to capture a bird’s eye view of the subject. 

Brecken Huisman — Huisman Hog Waters: Every year thousands of pigs get sick from diseases and from bacteria that grows in the dirty warm water that sits in cement and rubber troughs. HHW is a locally owned business that builds hog waters for people that show and raise hogs. 

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