Boyle County High School Entrepreneur academy students graduate
Published 8:14 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2016
To put a final note on the lessons students learned about starting their own businesses, they “graduated” Wednesday from the Boyle County High School Entrepreneurs Academy.
“You’re our future. You’re who’s going to grow the economy in this country. We’re really excited that you’ve all been through this program,” said Paula Fowler, executive director of the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce. “… we’re hoping, five, 10, 15 years down the road, when you might want to start a business, you know how to do it.”
Email newsletter signup
Over the course of five years, Fowler said, 71 students have been through the program, which was initially open to all students in Boyle County. Three years ago, it moved to the Boyle County High School and became limited to the students there. Fowler is working to get it into other schools in the county.
“We have a good collaboration and we have a lot of businesses that help out,” she said.
Speaking to the students at their graduation was Jamey Coffey, owner of Pitman Creek Wholesale.
Being able to get their products in many stores was something that the students were asked to think about after their presentations last week and it’s something that Pitman Creek Wholesale has mastered.
Coffey purchased the company in 1993 from a family in Somerset, who would sell fishing products to stores and marinas in central Kentucky. Now, the company is located in Danville and sells fishing products to Bass Pro Shop, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and more; sells to more than 1,000 retailers; and sells in 12 countries.
“I realized that one person and one truck can reach a limited amount of people. It’s 10 times more effective for me to be in the warehouse, talking on the phone to people all across the country,” he said.
All the sales are done from the Gose Pike location, although Coffey said they do go out a few times a year to visit their retailers.
Coffey shared with students a few of the tips of the company’s success.
“Focusing on a niche industry has allowed us to grow,” he said, explaining to students that keeping focus on the fishing industry has helped.
It’s also been important to keep up with the industry as it changes.
“There’s lots of information on the internet about our industry and that’s where the trends start,” Coffey said. “Stuff changes all the time, so you’ve got to stay on top of it daily.”
Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.
SO YOU KNOW
Students pitched their business ideas, plans, products and research last week before potential investors.
• The winning team was Muff Kingz, created by Andrew Dean and Christian Reeves, focusing on the heated ear warmer. The two will receive a $650 investment in their product once they get it off the ground. The two will also receive a $1000 scholarship to split.
• Hitch Holder, by Tucker Kilby, Hanna Harrison, and Riley Cocanougher, will receive a $600 investment.
• L&L Home Care, by Landon Gatton and Luke Gibson will receive a $500 investment. The duo has already begun the business.
• HDM Details, with owner Harley Mitchell, and employees Faris Allahham and Hagen Gerlach, will receive a $450 investment. The trio has already begun the business.
• The Archers Kit by Jonathon Burguess will receive a $400 investment.
• The Inside 4, a podcast by Isaac Holderman, Matthew Bodner, Daniel Notter and Bryce Slone, will receive $200.
• Two other business plans were SwissStock by Austin Norvell, Jeremy Goode, Hunter Seay and Cameron Davis; and MatchSafes by William Rayens, Ian Birney, Jonathon Pierce and Kagen Walters. They did not receive funds.
Brad Simmons, member of the investor panel, congratulated all of the students on having done such an “excellent” job.
“These were amazing ideas,” he said.
Students have to invest their own equity, said Paula Fowler, director of the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce, and will receive investment funds at that point.