MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

November 29, 2012

Business contest out to inspire students

Entrants’ firms hypothetical, but outsiders see promise

— TAHLEQUAH — Young entrepreneurs had plenty to offer at Sequoyah School on Wednesday.

The Cherokee Nation Youth Entrepreneurship Day drew 199 middle school and high school students from across northeastern Oklahoma. The competition encourages students to create hypothetical businesses, which are judged by real business owners.

The 125 exhibits included such “businesses” as felt critters designed to help people feel better, customized license plates, even lessons for the perfect duck call.

“I do duck call tutoring,” said Cody Davis, an eighth-grader from Roland. “I’ll offer duck calls on DVDs or CDs.”

Cody stood by his camouflaged booth that bore the slogan, “For hunters who’d rather say ‘fetch’ than ‘no bird,’” and demonstrated various calls.

After one, he said, “That’s the lonesome female duck telling a drake ‘I’m lonesome.’”

After another, he said, “That’s a female calling for help.

“My paw-paw taught my dad how to duck hunt, and my dad taught me how to duck hunt,” Cody said. “And I wanted to get paid doing it.”

Cherokee Nation Entrepreneurship Development Manager Stephen Highers said the program seeks to “foster the entrepreneurship spirit in the next generation.”

Woodall seventh-graders Hannah Ferrell and Morgan Guinn offered pretty bows and infant clothes at their booth, “Head to Toe Bling.”

Woodall School counselor Stacy Hall said the girls had to work and learn to get their business going.

“They had to come up with an idea, make a business plan and have a product to show,” Hall said. “This is a good program for students to participate in so they can be thinking about the future. I wish more students would participate.”

Hall said the girls won a second-place award last year.

Tahlequah eighth-grader Madeline Lamb said her Handy Boo Boo Buddies helped meet a need she had: “I made them because my hands were getting cold.”

The Boo Boo Buddies are felt packets filled with rice. Madeline said the packets can be microwaved briefly to help warm hands. They also can be put in a freezer and soothe a sprain, she said.

Vian ninth-grader Nathan Roberts found a way to make money for his school as well as himself.

Nathan cuts and designs vinyl signs and license plates under a business he calls Local Cuts. He said he got a grant to buy vinyl-cutting machines and equipment as long as he would make plates for school clubs and fundraisers.

His booth displayed two deep blue plates promoting the Vian FFA. He also had Vian Wolverines plates in several colors.

Also, $3 out of each $15 plate he sells goes back to Vian schools, Nathan said.

“Usually, when you buy a custom license plate, it costs $35 to $40, plus $65 just for lettering,” he said. “Vinyl also reduces the amount of trees used.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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