This story was originally posted on richlandsource.com on April 11, 2018.
Back in January of 2018, Idea Works officially partnered with YEA! to give each of their students the ability to use our co-working space as Idea Works members.
SHELBY -- Colonel Crawford junior Ian Dzugan has always believed in his business idea, but he was still shocked Wednesday night when a panel of investors proved they too saw the potential.
Dzugan only requested $617, but he received $1,065 to start Design Pull, a business selling magnetic tile backsplashes. He and nine other students pitched seven business ideas at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy's third annual investor panel at the Kehoe Center in Shelby.
"I'm shocked," Dzugan said. "I was not expecting that at all, but it's definitely nice to hear."
The Colonel Crawford junior, who attends the College Now program through the Kehoe Center, will also represent north central Ohio at the 10th annual YEA Saunders Scholars national semifinal competition May 3 to 5 at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.
Dzugan's business will design and sell movable magnetic tiles to allow homeowners to design and redesign their kitchen backsplashes with ease.
"My parents fixed up a house not too long ago, we were looking at back splashes and wanted an easier way to do it," he said.
His parents Gretchen and Joe Dzugan suggested the idea and were excited to see their son "run with it."
"We're grateful and excited," Joe said. "He worked very hard."
Ian approached them asking to join YEA after hearing a presentation at school, and they encouraged him to participate. Both Gretchen and Joe have owned their own businesses over the years, so they weren't surprised to see entrepreneurial characteristics in their teen.
Even at age 12, Ian found ways to make money. He and his sibling bought a pop machine, which is still used at a local warehouse.
With Design Pull, Ian hopes to soon sell his tile backsplashes at a large retailer.
"I definitely want to get them in as many homes as possible," he said.
Other students received a share of $4,250 from the investor panel. Panelists included Brian Sauder of Modern Woodmen of America, Chris Hiner of Richland Bank, Nick Gosouras of Mechanics Bank, Deelee Powell of Baker's Collision Repair Specialists and Carl Fernyak of Idea Works.
Alex Newberry received $600 for his idea, The Mansfield Watch Winders. The panelists complimented his presentation ability and named him runner up to Dzugan. Newberry will pitch his idea in Rochester, if for any reason Dzugan can't attend.
Newberry described his product as "high-quality" and "durable," especially when compared to what's currently in the market.
Sisters Maya, Avery and Kennedy Hatfield received $735 to start MAK, a business that sells light bulbs for applying makeup. Their product will offer three light settings, which allows those applying makeup to see what they'll look like in different light.
Additionally, Samantha Avery received $500 for her clothing line Mar Love, which will donate a portion of its profits to support marine life.
Brody Brubaker received $400 for his business, Spider Customs.
Ethan Byrom received $450 for Posed Pets, a photography business with an emphasis on animals.
Michael Marhefka received $500 to launch Journey to Freedom Apparel, which will share its profits with Destiny Rescue, a program that works to stop human trafficking.
YEA organizer, Nikki Lewis watched the students present with a huge smile on her face.
"Some of them came in with ideas, some had lots of exploring to do... And now, you can see their growth in their confidence," she said.
YEA will be taking applications again soon. Interested participants can reach Lewis at the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce by calling 419-522-3211.