February 19, 2007

Six High School Entrepreneurs Turn Taken into Capital

February 16, 2007


High School Entrepreneurs Turn Talent into Capital

More than 60 young entrepreneurs applied to the 2007 TCU Texas High School Entrepreneur of the Year scholarship program, sponsored by Compass Bank. Out of those, 25 finalists were selected, and six outstanding business owners earned college scholarships, which are doubled if the student attends TCU.

Karen Radewald was the Grand Prize winner of a $5,000 scholarship. A senior at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Karen turned her hobby of collecting bottle caps and her designing talent into creating distinctive jewelry now sold worldwide and at the Dr. Pepper plant in Dublin, Texas. Karen's company, Um Yeah Inc., produces and sells vintage bottle cap jewelry via the web and through 15 retailers in six states, Canada and Central America. Through her savvy marketing skills, she emailed editors at Teen magazine and Teen Vogue, both of which featured her jewelry, which carries her logo and web address on each item. Her Dr. Pepper designs have sold thousands of dollars through the gift shop. Since she is at capacity, Karen is focusing on lowering costs and increasing her margins. She plans to continue serving her current accounts through college to help pay for tuition. She plans to study graphics design and entrepreneurship. www.popartbykaren.com

Tania Foster, a senior at Sachse High School northeast of Dallas, won a $1,000 scholarship. She turned her entrepreneurial spirit into a 501c-3 organization called Dallas is Love, which benefits 11,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. In 2005, her organizations collected $5,000 in donations to purchase Army Air Force Exchange gift certificates in $25 increments to give to the troops for the holiday season. Tania and her family were invited to visit the troops, and after receiving clearance from the Pentagon, she arrived in 2006 with additional $2,500 gift certificates, plus autographed sports memorabilia. Tania's strategy is to send donation letters to everyone she meets, as well as business leaders, community leaders and major organizations. She plans to continue Dallas is Love through college and turn it into a nationwide charity to recognize those who serve. www.dallasislove.org

Victor Ramon, a senior at Highland Park High School in Dallas who won a $1,000 scholarship, uses his brains to make money while helping others. He formed Highland Park Tutors to provide quality tutoring at affordable prices for the entire Park Cities area. With 10 different tutors, each ranking in the top of their class at Highland Park High School, Victor's company can tutor every core subject as well as foreign languages and a few other electives. He taught himself web design and created a website. He invited the local newspaper to meet his tutors at their first meeting, which resulted in news coverage both in the Park Cities People and Dallas Morning News. He plans to further market the already successful company and continue it through college. He plans to study business, start his own company and have it grow to become a Fortune 500 company.

Justin Shoulders, a senior at Shallowater High School near Lubbock, won a $1,000 scholarship for his yard maintenance service, American Lawn Service. Justin began his business the summer before his freshman year with a few yards and hi dad's lawnmower. He now serves approximately 30 weekly customers in addition to those who call for special services such as tree and hedge trimming, weed control, flower bed maintenance and fertilizing. He manages private homes as well as several commercial accounts, including Coldwell Banker Realtors in Lubbock. He sends Christmas cards to clients and performs voluntary yard work for elderly and disabled individuals. Justin plans to study business in college while maintaining his company.

Chris Sterling, a senior at Jesuit Preparatory School in Dallas, also won a $1,000 scholarship. Chris' business is quite unique. Sterling Coral and Shells is a wholesaler that distributes decorative coral and shell specimens to upscale retailers such as Ceylon et Cie, Kentstone Antiques and Peacock Alley. His coral has been featured in Dallas Home Design and Veranda magazine, which featured his coral in a layout of Donald Trump's house. With Dallas covered, he hopes to expand to Fort Worth and Southlake. Customer service, on-time delivery and the best specimens available make his company a success. He is already thinking of other items such as quartz spheres, citrine points and amethyst specimens as design trends evolve. He plans to study business in college.

Christopher Wilshire, a senior at Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Worth, won $1,000 scholarship for Rockin' W. Cattle Co. LLC, which breeds, buys and sells registered and purebred Black Angus cattle and registered quarter horses. The company also farms and raises its own hay and performs some cattle hauling. Chris has grown his herd from three Black Angus calves to a herd of 24 cows, one bull and 17 calves. His business plan takes him through 2009 with 150 breeding females and 50 stocker calves. At that point, the profits will provide him with enough capital to meet operational costs, provide for expansions and assist in educational costs while Chris pursues a degree in business and ranch management. www.rockinwcattleco.com

The Neeley Entrepreneurship Center hosts TCU Young Entrepreneur Days, sponsored by Compass Bank, each year to bring the state's most impressive high school entrepreneurs to TCU to consult with successful entrepreneurs, learn about The Neeley School of Business' and experience college life. The students are interviewed by a panel of judges, who select the six award recipients. 
For more information on the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, the TCU Texas Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and past winners, visit www.nep.tcu.edu .    

Click here to listen to The Business Makers radio show with Russ Capper, featuring David Minor, Ash Huzenlaub, Karen Radewald, Justin Anderson, Jeff Livney, Chris Sterling, Conner Hood, Dane Hall, Marissa Berenson, Nick Lafferty and Victor Ramon.   


Elaine Cole
Public Relations Manager
Neeley School of Business at TCU