Pitch day for students at annual Youth Entrepreneurial Academy

Four high school students wanting to start their own businesses earned $500 each in startup money for sharing their business ideas with community and area entrepreneurs

Posted: Jun 15, 2019 1:09 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Imagine starting your own business from the ground up. It involves many parts, including researching target audience, marketing, and determining costs and expenses. Not exactly easy right?

But that's not deterring some high school students that have been participating at this week's Youth Entrepreneurial Academy. They've been working on building startup business plans, and had to sketch out problems, solutions, key metrics, cost structure, revenue streams and other factors using the Lean Canvas method.

On Friday, those students pitched their ideas to local entrepreneurs, with the chance to win $500 in startup (or seed) money. 

KJ Barkema will be a senior at North Iowa Christian School, and is working to start a mini golf business at Southbridge Mall. He says it's something that could fill a year-round entertainment void.

"If you ask people what they think of Mason City and North Iowa, they say we love it, but there's nothing to do. Every single person has this problem with nothing to do, and I want to help solve that."

He worked with Tyler Anderson, the owner of Roller City, to develop his plan, and appreciates what he's learned throughout the week.

"Probably the most valuable thing for me was finding somebody in that situation, and just getting to know them. For me it was Tyler Anderson, getting to know him and talking with him and working through what's the need in Mason City and how we can help the community."

Barkema was one of four students that won $500 each in startup money. Other students include:

*Mattilyn Flack - Trade Customs, a manufacaturing business that specializes in customized machine products

*Brecken Husiman - Husiman Hog Waters, a business building adjustable and sanitary hog waterers for people who show and raise hogs

*Trace Gau - Crystal Sky Imagery, an aerial imaging and videography company that uses drones for real estate and insurance inspections, and wedding photographers

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