By: NetWork Kansas
Christian Calliham has competed in the YEC Series, with several different business ideas, since the 2014-2015 academic year. In the 2014-2015 season, Christian won first place in the Northwest Regional Championship with his business idea, Calliham Horse Boarding. This past season, in April 2017, Christian took first place and won $5,000 at the YEC State Championship at Fort Hays State University. Below he talks about the impact this program has had on him as an entrepreneur.
Q: Describe your business and how it's grown since participating in the YEC Series.
A: "I competed in the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge for three years with a different business idea each year. However, in the fall of 2015, I decided to make one of my ideas a reality, soon later came CT Feeds. CT Feeds provides nutritious feed and custom-tailored coaching for show livestock in northwest Kansas. The knowledge I gained from the competitions helped make my business a success. I learned how to create a business plan for my ideas, reach and market to the customers, and learned how to set myself apart from my competitors. From competing in these competitions I was able to receive finical support, connections, and resources needed to make CT Feeds a growing and profitable business. With the help of Network Kansas and other sponsors I am proud to announce that CT Feeds has the largest livestock show feed selection in Northwest Kansas. CT Feeds has grown to reaching customers in over six counties within our first year of business at livestock, placing at the local, state, and national level."
Q: What were your key takeaways from participating?
A: "Participating in the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge helped my business grow and myself as a person, too. During the time of learning how to start my future business ideas, I was able to meet wonderful people who have been not only helpful to my business success, but also have become friends and mentors.
This competition taught me the fundamentals of how to get my business up and running. Without the help of my teachers and the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge I truly do not think I would have been able to start my business. Luckily with the connections I made at the competition my business dream came true. By competing in the tradeshows and events it gave me the opportunity to get my name out to other business owners, potential clientele, and investors. By learning how to operate and manage a business it helped make me more mature and be able to work with all ages and people.
Thanks to the Network Kansas Team and my local community, I have been able to also help share my passion for the program by being on panels and speaking at events. From the years of experience competing at the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, it is clear and proven that Network Kansas is developing the youth of tomorrow to do what they love and give them the connections they need to be a success."
Q: What are your plans to grow your business in the future?
A: "CT Feeds has now been in business for over two years. We have taken a short break while I am now transitioning into college at Kansas State University. However, we plan to be up in running in January with a new location in Colby, KS along with adding some sub-dealers in surrounding areas to reach more potential clientele. CT Feeds is excited and looking to expand through out Kansas in years to come to share the passion of agriculture with today's youth who enjoy showing livestock."
You can view the CT Feeds website at https://ctshowfeeds.wixsite.com/ctshowfeeds
To learn more about bringing the YEC Series to your community, contact your NetWork Kansas Regional Manager.
Stay tuned for more information about the 2017-2018 YEC Series!