Friday, August 09, 2013

Willow Springs Teen Wins Biz Boot Camp Business Plan Competition

Contact: Willis Mushrush, business development specialist
Tel: (417) 256-2391

WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- Caleb McLaughlin, a senior from Willow Springs, won the Business Plan Competition on the final day of the University of Missouri Extension’s Biz Boot Camp with his custom clothing design business, MaxDesign.

McLaughlin’s presentation of his business idea beat out 11 other young entrepreneurs.

“McLaughlin used several pair of his designer jeans as props to illustrate his concept of using recycled clothing to create custom designs,” said Willis Mushrush, a business development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

During the business camp, students used their creativity and worked together to write and film marketing videos, went on a field trip to two local businesses, and competed in an elevator pitch competition.

“Students were really lively and engaged this year.  They had fun while learning the basic concepts of building a business,” said Suzanne Hones, a graduate of last year’s camp, served as an intern at this year’s event.

Holt Skinner, a freshman at West Plains High School, was runner-up in the Business Plan Competition for his Haswell Computer Repair & Consultation business.

Campers offered presentations for a wide variety of businesses such as Wags ‘n Whiskers Pet Sitting, Asterisk Illustrations (logo design), Happy Trails Equine Therapy, and Good Times Party Planning.

McLaughlin won a Samsung Galaxy tablet and Skinner received a set of Beats by Dre headphones.  Skinner, who said he would like to return to Biz Boot Camp next year, also placed second in the Elevator Pitch Competition.  McLaughlin was also awarded free use of CrowdIt’s crowd funding platform to help his business get started.

Jason Graf, CEO of CrowdIt was one of the judges for the Business Plan Competition and personally selected McLaughlin for the award.  CrowdIt is a Springfield Missouri web based business that uses crowd funding to finance business opportunities.

Crowd funding describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.

Biz Boot Camp was a three day event held July 23 -25 in West Plains. The camp was sponsored by the YouthBiz Program of the Ozark Heritage Region which is funded by the University of Missouri Extension.  Other partners include the Small Business & Technology Development Center at MSU-West Plains and the Ozarks Small Business Incubator.

PHOTO OF STUDENTS AVAILABLE: A photo for use with this story (and includes a cutline with all of the students names and businesses) can be found on MU Extension’s regional photo library at The specific photo for use with this story can be found at: .

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