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Since winning the 6-11 age category last year, Tuff Glasmann, owner of Tuff’s Ranch has seen tremendous success. He and his family moved to a ranch in Bennett, Colorado where his business mentor, Jeff Bennis of Rifkin & Associates, Inc., arranged local mentors for him – 4M Feeders and La Vaca Meat Co.
Tuff was able to process six head of cattle, two of which were donated to the Redistribution Center to help our veterans. He is also now able to feed his high quality, fresh meat to individuals and families enrolled in Colorado’s SNAP/EBT program. He held a community event in March 2022 with attendance of over four hundred people.
With his YouthBiz winnings Tuff opened a Non-Profit, 501(c)(3) organization, Tuff’s Animal Rescue, which allows him to rescue farm animals and provide a comfortable retirement for them on his spacious ranch. Tuff incorporates these rescue animals in the Farm/Ranch-to-Table and Fiber-to-Clothing educational presentations that he offers to visitors at his Agri-Tourism site and store, “The Outpost”, located on Tuff’s Ranch.
This summer Tuff will host day camps for kids at his ranch with a different theme and activity each week. The “Ranch Hand for the Day” program is designed to give participants a sense of the rural, farm, and ranch lifestyle. Activities will include feeding and caring for ranch animals, agriculture education, gardening, art, public speaking exercises, financial education, leadership, and teamwork. This program was put together after Tuff’s family learned that the local recreation center would be shutting down to the youth in the area for the summer. Tuff is currently seeking corporate sponsorships to offset program costs.
Hannah Doolittle, the winner in the 12-15 age category, has been equally busy these past several months. Her dream for her business, Simply Denver Soap Co., has always been to have her products carried by major retailers around the world and to have her own direct-to-consumer website.
When she started working with her mentor, Jim Reuter of FirstBank, she had two major problems she wanted to address. The first was a sales plateau that she didn’t know how to solve, and the second was finding a sustainable balance between school, sports, friends, and running her business. During their first meeting, Mr. Reuter listened to her concerns and assured her these were simply challenges that required a new perspective. Since those first meetings, Hannah has figured out an action plan and sorted out her schedule. She was also able to start taking bigger steps toward her final goal.
Hannah is now in the process of building a website, growing her social media presence, perfecting her branding, and making her packaging more ecofriendly. Mr. Reuter connected Hannah with other business associates to help in those areas, including his ad agency and an IT expert.
Hannah feels she now has a solid business plan to grow her business. She excitedly explains, “Working with a YouthBiz mentor has been an eye-opening experience and has helped me get much closer to achieving my dream.”
You can find Hannah’s all natural soap products here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplyDenverSoapCo
Our 16-21 category winner, Andrew Kurtz, has learned a lot from his business mentor, Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis of Craig Hospital. After having frank discussions about goal setting, Andrew realized that growing A Designs with his current business infrastructure would not be sustainable in the long run because so many aspects of his business are done manually. In addition to sales revenue goals, he is now focused on tweaking business processes to make his business run more efficiently.
In addition to meeting with his mentor, Andrew has met with the CFO at Craig Hospital to discuss wholesale pricing, strategies to get his products into local stores and gift shops, and how to attract repeat customers. They also discussed options for investing a portion of his prize money.
Dr. Allen-Davis also introduced Andrew to a colleague who used to own a gift shop. She is helping him with merchandising for in-person events and has offered to connect Andrew with other gift shop owners who might be interested in carrying his product line. Through her connections, Andrew was able to secure a vendor booth at the Englewood holiday marketplace and tree lighting where he sold several hundred dollars’ worth of cards and stationery.
Another of Andrew’s goals is to expand the charitable component of his business. He was able to meet with the head of the Craig Foundation and has donated over a hundred cards to use as thank you notes for volunteers.
Andrew’s greeting cards and personalized stationery are currently available through his Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/adesignsdenver
We’re thrilled that our 2021 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars winners are taking full advantage of having a business mentor to guide them through the next growth stage of their businesses. These young business owners are poised for success.
Who’s next? We can’t wait to meet the next group of talented applicants for the 2022 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition.
If you or someone you know is a young business owner between the ages of 6-21, we encourage them to apply. The deadline for this year’s applicants is June 4th. More information on the application process can be found here.
All applicants receive personalized business feedback from our distinguished panel of judges from the local business community. Two finalists and one winner will be awarded for each age category, with a total of $10,000 in prize money and the chance to be paired with a leading business mentor. Apply Now!