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Youth Entrepreneurship Contest Brings Out Big Ideas and Dreams

Sidney Allard Takes Top Prize

SIDNEY -- In January of 1925, President Calvin Coolidge said, "The chief business of the American people is business." There can be some debate of whether this is still true, but on Friday, December 8 at Sidney High School, it certainly was true to the 14 students competing in the Youth Entrepreneurship Contest.

A program sponsored by the Sidney E3 group, the contest was a way for young entrepreneurs to develop a business plan, and pitch their own businesses to judges and then holding a "trade show" where they could interact with the public and sell the benefits of their products and services. E3 Group Coordinator Sarah Sinnett said that the judges took the time to travel far for the event, and included Brittany Hardin from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development in Lincoln.

In the morning, the students worked on their business plans, and then delivered their "pitches" to the judges. In the afternoon, a "trade show" event was held in the high school commons, and a huge turnout of area residents came in and went to the various booths to learn about the new products and services offered by the students. The attendees were universally impressed with the poise and confidence each of the students displayed detailing their products and services.

Clothing and accessories were a popular product with the students, and some unique and attractive. Sidney High School senior Katie Ramsey had a very unique clothing line called "Cowbanaboy". "My father and I noticed that when we would go to the beach, we were seeing all these people wearing cowboy and rodeo-style clothes, and when we'd go to rodeos, we'd see all these people wearing beachwear. That's where the idea came to kind of combine the two styles together to make a unique product line." Her product line honors the country and western outdoor lifestyle, but also touches on the dreams of a tropical paradise that may be out of reach to some here in cattle country. Ramsey then talked about how she did market research, identifying the total market for leisure wear, and then she spoke about identifying reliable suppliers that provide high-quality apparel, but at a price that can support her target of a 50% profit margin. She plans on offering Hawaiian shirts, hats, T-Shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. Ramsey will be attending Oklahoma State next year and will be competing on the Division 1 Equestrian team. She is a two-time American Quarter Horse Youth Association level 3 finalist. Ramsey knows the style and desires of her target market very well.

Another interesting service offered was by Sidney senior Logan Johnson, with the concept for "The Tiny Tee Offs", a golf-themed entertainment center based in Sidney. "We have a big need for more entertainment options in Sidney, and this type of "Putt-Putt" center would bring a unique and exciting entertainment experience to the area," said Johnson. Johnson has a passion for golf, and sees the popularity of the sport as a great draw for his business. "This is not your ordinary miniature golf or putt-putt golf experience, it will be extremely high-tech and utilize all of the latest exciting technological advancements to create a really unique experience," he said. He bases the floor plan off of the space at the vacant Chinese Buffett in the Bomgaars shopping center. Patrons would get to play and enjoy golf games with the enhancement of digital technologies. "This isn't your grandma's style type off putt-putt", he says. Drawing on the western Nebraska and Eastern Colorado areas for customers, the unique venue would provide a year-round golfing experience like no other. His main challenge is finding the investment capital to secure the space and purchase the equipment necessary for operation. Johnson plans to pursue this venture with all of his energy after graduating high school.

Sidney senior Duncan Carrasco has an interesting product with "Duncan Your Dog", a self-contained dog washing station. Carrasco was very skilled in presenting his product, with his theater background enabling him to detail his product line with comfort and confidence, while answering questions with ease and authority. "We have a lot of dog-lovers in the area, and giving them a good wash is often a challenge. Many times you have to wait until you get home, and hope that you can keep your dog from getting in the house first and tracking mud all over the floors. Or, you have to spray the dog down outside, and then they end up tracking mud inside anyway. "Duncan Your Dog" is an easy and cost effective way of cleaning up your dog before you get home, so its one less thing to worry about when you just want to get home and relax," Carrasco said. The dog washing station is self contained, made mostly of stainless steel, and would cost $15 to wash your dog. His plan is to have the stations at car washes and other areas that are high-traffic areas. Perfect for the hunter to clean up his dogs after a day going after ducks, Carrasco sees great potential in the western Nebraska area. "Just about everybody has a dog here, and many are out there in nature getting dirty, so this service in this area is a great fit."

The trade show event lasted all afternoon, with the big crowd going from station to station and learning about the products and services. Besides the apparel and accessory products, there were technical products, food services and financial products. All of the attendees raved about the professionalism and dedication the students showed, which is a direct reflection on their families, teachers and mentors from E3. At the end, the winners were announced, and Sidney Allard took first place with her full-service mobile bovine reproduction business, S Rafter S Genetics. She wins $5000 and MacBook Laptop. Second place was awarded to Zoey Dornbier with Bleu Zone Peer-to-Peer Lending, and third place was awarded to Avery Larsen with Evergreen Design.

Other winners included Kobe Peterson, who was awarded a $500 University of Nebraska-Kearney Scholarship. Peterson was also awarded a $1000 WNCC Scholarship. Logan Johnson was awarded a $750 WNCC Scholarship, and Grant Smirnich was awarded a $500 WNCC Scholarship.


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