Being an entrepreneur and owning your own business is the dream of some students at Portsmouth High School.
These students spent the first half of the school year preparing, by entering the Dare to Dream Project contest. The seven students were not the only creative students at PHS to enter the contest, but they were the only ones to get money for their work.
The Dare to Dream teams, started in August in Nate Kline’s business class at PHS. “We make it our big project for the year and they have a school competition here on February 28th and in that, we select our top three teams in our school to represent us in the Ohio Semifinals and from there, we had two teams to represent us in the Finals,” Kline said.
Kline spoke in front of some of the student body at PHS to celebrate. “They put together their own business idea by group. Our group GoNuts!placed 11th and they were awarded $900.00 and Yak Rak won first and they won $7,750.00,” Kline said. “It couldn’t be done without our organizer, Mike Thompson from Dare to Dream and our team sponsor, Tim Glockner from Glockner Enterprise.”
Glockner presented the combined big check to the seven students. “Guys, this is our fifth year and this is the easiest money you can earn. These guys have presented their business ideas, they earned some real money, I encourage you all to participate next year,” Glockner said. “More importantly, we want you guys to start thinking about owning your own business in what you’re interested in. I am told that about 60% of Generation Z, that’s you all, are interested in owning their own business and if we’re going to turn this community around, that’s what it’s going to take. I wanted to encourage you guys to follow your dream, dare to dream and get involved with this program next year.”
Glockner has been involved with the Dare to Dream project for five years. “I was a judge at the regional finals and we gave them some pointers and they took some advice and made some improvements and then they won. This is a regional program, but my heart and passion is here at home in Portsmouth,” Glockner said. “I’ve never been more encouraged about the future in this region in particular, and I love that generation Z has a passion for entrepreneurism and I think we’re in good hands.”
Thompson is also the director of Dare to Dream. “This is an Economic Development Corporation Tech Growth of Ohio, to develop business, that’s how we got started, we were challenged with how to get people interested in entrepreneurism. We decided to start at the high school level because nobody had ever done a high school level type contest and every year we have been involved, we’ve increased the amount of money we have given away to students,” Thompson said. “The first year we only gave away $10,000, this year we gave away a total of $34,000. We had the highest number of student teams participating with a total of 51 teams that were involved in the program this year. For the final that these two teams made it to, there were only 14 teams that made it to the finals.
“You just saw that the winning teams won $7,750 and each student received a check for $1,900 and that’s not scholarship money, there are no strings attached, it is their money, that is what entrepreneurism is all about, capitalism, you go out and work hard, you make money and it’s yours,” Thompson said.
Thompson of South Point, is a private contractor. “That it is a big part of what is called, The Tri-State Angel Investment Group. They are a big part of that, we’re investors in the early stage businesses,” Thompson said. “This is another way of generating and finding early-stage businesses and that is something that involves the Tri-State, it’s Portsmouth, it’s South Point, it’s Ashland, Kentucky and Huntington, West Virginia. The Angel Investment group is a big part of this and we actually received an ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) Grant, so a big shout out to them, because they really helped out to pay expenses by putting money into this. It was a group idea to do this, and me as a business contractor, they asked me to put it together. That’s the reason I’m called the director, but it wasn’t just my idea.”
Thompson said when he needed a title sponsor, he went to Andy Glockner. “Absolutely, I’ll be your title sponsor,” Glockner said. Thompson says that was $5000 the first year and they’ve been the title sponsor every year and now they are a $10,000 title sponsor. “We would never have had the program, if Andy hadn’t gotten involved and because he said ‘I believe in the youth of Portsmouth,’ “ Thompson said.
Luke Rodbell was the leader in his group. “My team did Go Nuts! where we set up and sold glazed nuts at the Winterfest, and our goal is to expand to get a food truck to travel around the Tri-State to other festivals,” Rodbell said. He said the finals were held at the Kricker Building at Shawnee State University. “There are three of us on my team, myself, Lauren Albrecht and Jaiden Rickett. It was a learning opportunity to learn how to set-up and run a business, as well as to present it to 100 people or more.”
Chloe Minton’s team was Yak Rak. “We created Kayak trailers to support Kayak’s on the back of vehicles,” Minton said. “There were four of us in my group, myself, Aiden Donges, Emily Jones and Autumn Wright. We have actually looked into investing more into our company and selling our product, especially with the help of Tim Glockner, he helped us so much. It was a lot of fun, we liked working on it and fixing our own idea from the semifinals to the finals.”
According to both team leaders, it was a lot of work and they said it mainly took a lot of time. These teams created their work in their business class and said it was part of their grade, but that anyone can do it if they would want to do so.
“Kline was one of the first teachers that made it a class project and gave them a grade on it,” Thompson said. “Nate is the premier teacher of this.
“They require a mentor, so I start it in my class in August and we start brainstorming ideas for business ideas and get to work, until February, when we, for our school competition, pick the best to represent our school,” Kline said. “The majority of it is improv, work on the presentation and putting together a pitch and everything.
“That’s where the direction is for our society, we’re looking for people that think and be the problem solvers and try to make a dollar doing it,” Kline said. “What better time to do it than right here in this school. That’s what we try to encourage in our kids, we try to encourage the entrepreneur set.”
In the school competition, Kline said they asked local leaders to be judge. “We ask local business people to be judges and coaches to move forward,, and I’d like to recognize the Smith Family group, Doc Spartan, and Angie Duduit from Shawnee State University for helping give advice to our students moving forward.” Both Thompson and Kline said Duduit was so very helpful to the students.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928