NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Hosts Youth Entrepreneurial Academy

Mason City, Iowa – The North Iowa Area Community College John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center conducted the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy on June 19-23. The academy is offered annually and free to all high school students interested in entrepreneurship.

Participants received a $500 NIACC scholarship sponsored by John Pappajohn. This year’s academy included 15 participating high school students. The aspiring entrepreneurs completed the academy which is held as a day camp from 8:30 am-4:30 pm.

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:

  • Sadie Arickx from Rockford Senior High
  • Samuel Arickx from Rockford Senior High
  • Carissa Blake from St. Ansgar High School
  • Madison Daniels from West Hancock High School
  • Ravyn Knecht from Charles City High School
  • Falyn Knecht from Charles City High School
  • Hunter Noordhoek from Osage High School/Homeschool
  • Bekka Reams from St. Ansgar High School
  • Madalyn Schott from Forest City High School
  • Alyssa Tegtmeyer from West Hancock High School
  • Alyssa Thoreson from Forest City High School
  • Abigail Thomas from Central Springs High School
  • Daniel Wilbur from Homeschool (St. Ansgar)

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.

Guest speakers for the week included: Tyler Anderson, Brad and Angie Barber, and Shannon Latham.

The students presented their businesses to a panel of five judges: Tyler Anderson, Hunter Cahlanan, Pat Goedken, Ed Schick, and Dan Winegarden.

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

Sadie Arickx–The Company Company: The Company Company is a service based business focused on providing companionship for residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Sadie goes to nursing and assisted living homes around the Mason City and Nora Springs area, visiting the people who live there for a certain amount of time each week, spending time with them, playing board games, and watching movies.

Daniel Wilbur–North Iowa Diesel Repair: North Iowa Diesel Repair is a small local diesel repair shop located outside of St. Ansgar IA. Daniel services and repairs all makes and models of diesel engines, from diesel cars to four-wheel drive tractors.  His goal is to provide quality work at an affordable price to my customers and keep their equipment up and running with as little downtime as possible. He plans to attend the NIACC Diesel tech program to further his skills and become certified.

Ravyn Knecht–Knechtions: Knechtions, is a local business in small-town Charles City. Her company primarily sells industrial products including benches and tables. She also has a passion for creating home décor, such as signs and wall hangings. Kenechtions focuses on customer service and creating products designed specifically for each customer.

Madison Daniels–Designed to Sell:  Designed to Sell is a house flipping business where she takes the worst house in the most upscale neighborhood and fixes them up to make it a forever home for future families.

Alyssa Tegtmeyer–Share the Light Activity and Event Center: The Share the Light Activity & Event Center (SLAEC) is a Christian business that will eventually offer multiple services for entertainment such as concerts, public speaking events, service projects, day camps, youth groups, trips, game nights, and picnics.  It will also have a small book and apparel shop and cafe.  She plans to start off with simply providing a day camp to kids of various ages and a few year-round youth groups that would be held in various churches.  As business grows, Alyssa plans to buy a building (with an auditorium and a few smaller rooms) and offer more activities and events.


Chris Berg

Chris was born in Webster City and raised in Charles City. As a young kid, he would always be caught singing along to songs on the radio. He says he's good at karaoke but we think otherwise. ;) In his free time, he enjoys beginning new projects at home and hardly ever finishing them. Chris lives in Charles City with his wife Vicki, daughter Brynlee and son Jaxon.

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