Cupcake craze sweeping the Midwest: Cassie Marks has a Sweet Idea

Cassie Marks (14) - MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

Cassie Marks (14) – MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

Not all cupcake recipes are public. Cassie Marks’ sure aren’t. This 14 year old Warrensburg, Missouri student has developed a secret concoction for the sweetest form of entrepreneurship you can find: home-made, customized cupcakes. During the “Entrepreneurship or Bust Business Camp” hosted by the Small Business Technology and Development Center on the campus of the University of Central Missouri, Marks had the opportunity to explore what entrepreneurship looks, sounds, and smells like. To her, it was the sight of frosting, the sound of the oven timer, and the smell of warm batter baking in an oven to make fresh cupcakes. How did she find this spirit? “My entrepreneurial idea,” explains Marks, “became possible with support from my friends, family, and mentors.”

Better with Icing, Marks’ start-up idea will be competing against 14+ other students in a state-wide entrepreneurship competition held at the Missouri State Fair on August 12th. The MADE in Missouri Entrepreneurship Competition coordinated by the Missouri Valley Community Action Agency is set to cultivate entrepreneurship across Missouri by hosting this competition that provides Seed Funding for the top three winners in both the Youth and Open (adult) categories.

Marks seeks to add more critical acclaim to her idea by winning the competition. If she succeeds it will add to her collection. Marks was the “Best Public Pitch” winner at the Entrepreneurship or Bust Business Camp.

“I wanted to be an entrepreneur because I noticed that some companies have moral standings that I do not agree with.” says Marks who goes on to explain that, “The biggest problem for Always Better with Icing will probably be finding a way to find a stake in the market, especially when competing with big brands.”

If you intend to be at the State Fair this year in Sedalia, Missouri make sure you stop by the Lowell Mohler Assembly Hall and visit Marks at her exhibit booth to learn more about her idea. “I know that I worked and gave it my all, and to me, that is enough. For me,” states Marks, “I know that my business will be a success because I have what it takes. And so does my business. That is why Always Better with Icing will be a success, not only to me, but to everyone else as well.”

Bitten by the Entrepreneurial Bug: Madison Green provides Gourmet Goods

Madison Green (15) MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

Madison Green (15) MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

Every dog has their day; every entrepreneur their startup.  A stern competitor for the MADE Competition, Madison Green also won the “Best in Show” award during the “Entrepreneurship or Bust Business Camp” Exhibit Booth Presentation which was hosted by the Small Business Technology and Development Center on the campus of the University of Central Missouri. Green during camp sought to take her love of animals and baking and find an entrepreneurial outlet for it. Her idea for gourmet pet treats for dogs and bunny bites for rabbits sure was a hit.

Shortly after the conclusion of camp for Green, she applied to be at the State Fair to not only compete during the MADE in Missouri Entrepreneurship Competition but also to be at the Show-Me 4-H Wares Exhibit Booths as a vendor of her pet treat goods. A large responsibility of the students after camp is to continue pushing forward, Green began product testing, applying for competitions, and seeking the next steps to start her business. Green, clearly, takes this serious. At age 15, why shouldn’t she? Entrepreneurial start-ups are no longer for the college graduate or the retiree, the new footprint left in the sand is that of the new generation.

 

For Green to get to the point where she is now, she had to follow a process. Green explains, “My first step was joining the entrepreneurship project through my 4-H club. From there I attended the Entrepreneurship or Bust Business Camp which gave me the push I needed to begin the process of becoming an actual business.” The process isn’t easy and Green know it. “My biggest challenge will be getting the public to try my treats,” says Green, “instead of buying their usual treats from my competitors.” However, she knows with a little support and the right product she will be successful saying, “I believe there is a need for my business idea because, many pet owners love to spoil their pets and will spend money on treats on them. I believe I will be successful because, I am doing what I love and have many people who support me.”

I.C. a New Business on the Horizon: Ignacio Cabero is Turning Entrepreneurial Pages

Ignacio Cabero (14) MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

Ignacio Cabero (14) MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

The video game and fan fiction industry is a large and entertaining industry to put it mildly and one young 14 year old aspiring entrepreneur has his eyes set to it. Ignacio Cabero of Lee’s Summit, Missouri knew he had a passion for comic books, board games, and other miscellaneous fan fiction goods and sought to make it lucrative. During the “Entrepreneurship or Bust Business Camp” at the University of Central Missouri, Cabero learned from industry professionals, local entrepreneurs, and business counselors how to turn any idea into a business.

Entrepreneurs have many reasons behind their start-ups, aside from Cabero’s love for comic books, he says, “I wanted to be able to make money without having to rely on a boss.” In addition, he believes that if he can stay in business over a year, that to him, is the definition of “success”. With the dream of a mobile comic book truck tugging at his thoughts, Cabero seeks to continue with his idea by competing in the MADE Competition on August 12, 2014 during the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia.

“If you have an idea, go for it…” says Cabero. Clearly a follower of his own advice, he has continued to work with other business owners and business counselors through the SBTDC on bringing his idea from just a thought, to deals on wheels. The mobile comic book truck has a rather ingenious name, “I.C. Comics” coined during the business camp, Cabero instantly attached to the name. With a little luck and support, I.C. Comics will roll your way in the future.

Babysitting a scary gamble? Not anymore with KID Connections: Lauren Snare undertakes a Revolutionary Idea

Lauren Snare (14) - MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

Lauren Snare (14) – MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

I’m sure all parents can attest: leaving your kid for a night with a babysitter can be a joyous break but also a traumatizing nightmare.  What if you could leave your child with an educated, trained, responsible, and highly rated by other parents, babysitter? Lauren Snare of Warrensburg, Missouri has that solution currently in motion. At the age of 14, Snare can empathize that babysitters are a scary gamble for parents. As a child, your life could be in the hands of an untrained stranger, is that really the best choice, mom and dad? Take it from Snare, “Unfortunate circumstances are always a very real and present possibility in any child care setting.  Consequently, Kid Connections was conceived as a training module for kindhearted, intelligent, and dependable teenagers to attain formal training in CPR, first-aid and babysitting.  Upon completion, the sitters can connect with families through an online website.”

With this brilliant idea, Snare has already proven it to be a winning concept. Snare was awarded the “Best Shark Tank Pitch” at the business camp hosted by the Small Business Technology and Development Center each summer. The “Entrepreneurship or Bust Business Camp” takes place on the University of Central Missouri campus and this year was the base of 20 young start-up ideas, one being Snare’s business: KID Connections. “My interest with entrepreneurship started when I signed up for the UCM Business Camp.” Snare goes on to say, “After winning the Shark Tank portion of the camp competition, which came as a surprise, I have been working with what I learned at camp and my own research to turn my business into a reality.”

“The most important part that I have learned about entrepreneurship is that you must double check all the details and think everything through multiple times because there might be a little, but necessary, part that could have easily been forgotten.” Details all perfect, Snare is gunning for 1st prize at the MADE Entrepreneurship Competition, a Missouri Valley Community Action Agency program held at the Missouri State Fair each year. This year you can stop by Lowell Mohler Assembly Hall and catch Snare to learn more about getting a night of relaxation without the babysitter stress with her business, KID Connections.

It takes Two to Change the World: Tomorrow’s Innovation – Zechariah Lefholz and Michael Alexander

Zechariah Lefholz (19) and Michael Alexander (18) both MADE Competition Competitors and UCM Business Camp graduates.

Zechariah Lefholz (19) and Michael Alexander (18) both MADE Competition Competitors and UCM Business Camp graduates.

Co-Owners, Zechariah “Riah” Lefholz and Michael Alexander, ages 19 and 18 respectively, have set out to make changes to the way we all live. With their company, Tomorrow’s Innovation the future Rolla S&T Students say that “the future is only a day away”. Where did all this stem from? “When we first came up with our idea in our senior engineering capstone class,” Lefholz and Alexander say, “we did not even think of selling it or let alone create a business from our idea. So I guess this just all happened out of circumstances. My partner and I came up with our product and won a couple competitions and was given a chance to attend an entrepreneurship camp at UCM.”

Dead-eye aimed at adding another success under their belt, the two have been accepted into the MADE in Missouri Entrepreneurship Competition at the State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri. To exemplify this concentration, Lefholz and Alexander state, “You have to sell yourself if you want to be able to reach your goals. You can’t walk into things without being sure of yourself and your idea.” It goes without saying, the two of them are very sure of themselves and their idea.

Lefholz and Alexander presenting their idea to a judge at the engineering competition.

Lefholz and Alexander presenting their idea to a judge at the engineering competition.

The current idea under the parent company, Tomorrow’s Innovation, is to re-invent the lock. By creating a new form of the current locking mechanism, Lefholz and Alexander explain, “We found the problem that there is [an] inability to operate or unlock a combination padlock. Once we saw this problem we came up with a solution to this problem and came up with a lock that allows you to not have to memorize the combination at all.”

Curious about the new lock you may be using in the near future? Go to the Sedalia State Fair, see it for yourself and ask for a demo!

Making Jobs Easier to Get: Cameron Kuwata’s Idea to hook you up with EZ Trabajo

Cameron Kuwata (14) - MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

Cameron Kuwata (14) – MADE Competition Competitor and UCM Business Camp graduate.

There are plenty of jobs out there for interested people. Yes, it is true, jobs are available. There are job sites that mass market these openings. Cameron Kuwata of Lee’s Summit, Missouri has an idea to get you employment faster with targeted job opening hosting. The 15 year old has identified a need for a, specific market, job search website.

EZ Trabajo, Kuwata’s business idea, means EZ Jobs in Spanish. Catering to the Hispanic community, Kuwata says, “The Hispanic population is growing and there are no tools dedicated to them to help them find jobs and services.” To get his business up and running, Kuwata has been meeting with several key individuals within the Hispanic community and working with business development coaches which ultimately led him to be a competitor at the State Fair as part of the MADE in Missouri Entrepreneurship Competition on August 12.

It is no surprise that Kuwata attended the business camp at the University of Central Missouri, hosted by the Small Business Technology Development Center, and found his love for entrepreneurship. He goes on to explain, “We have many entrepreneurs in our family so when I saw that there was a entrepreneurship camp near me I decided to take the camp. Also I saw that there is a business aspect in everything we do and the camp would help me later in my future. “

Find him at the competition, steal some of his time, and find out more about EZ Trabajo.

 

A New Company Skating into Town: Hunter Hedgepath’s Creative Vision

Hunter Hedgepath (15), MADE Competitor and MU Business Camp Graduate.

Hunter Hedgepath (15), MADE Competitor and MU Business Camp Graduate.

Winner of the Build-A-Business Camp “Overall Champion” and 1st Place “Senior Youth Category Champion”, Hunter Hedgepath of St. Robert, Missouri has a vision to give skaters what they ultimately crave; a custom, one-of-a-kind, hand designed skateboard to show off to all their friends. Age 15 might seem like a young age to start pursuing this dream but by keeping his idea simple, clean, and bootstrapping as much as he can, Hedgepath knows it’s a very obtainable reality.

A strong testimony to Hedgepath’s passion for skating reigns his company name and slogan. Control the World “Skate or Die”, leaves an impression that only true skaters can admire. For Hedgepath’s target market, he knows that the one thing they love in life is their ability to skate and enjoy life to the fullest, that’s why his slogan is filled with meaning to his customers and himself. When asked why he was interested in entrepreneurship he replied, “I wanted to be an entrepreneur because of the thought of the freedom that I could have as an entrepreneur. So, I joined my passion for art and skating to form my own business.”

Hedgepath's 1st batch of customer T-Shirts created for by his company.

Hedgepath’s 1st batch of customer T-Shirts created for by his company.

Hedgepath and his business idea, Control the World, are set to be one of the over a dozen competitors this year at the State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri on August 12, 2014. The competition, hosted by the Missouri Valley Community Action Agency will pit young entrepreneurs against one another in the search for the “Missouri State Fair Entrepreneur of the Year” for both the youth and adult categories.