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Student entrepreneurs showcased in campus event

Dec 2, 2022
Two men and two women pose for a picture
Two men and two women pose for a picture

KOKOMO, Ind. — As a college student, Keith Dell wanted a job with flexible hours that would work around his class schedule — so he created one.

Dell, a junior at Indiana University Kokomo, founded Dell’s Auto Detailing a year and a half ago, giving him the chance to continue working toward his degree in marketing and management while also earning income.

“During the spring and summer, I’m overwhelmed with business, and I’m super grateful for it,” he said. “I like the flexibility it gives me to make money for rent, utilities, and school, and not be overloaded. I hope to continue this through college and maybe beyond.”

Dell, from Winamac, was one of the students featured in the campus’s first-ever business fair, hosted Thursday (December 1) by the Entrepreneurship Club.

Alexis Pier, club president, hopes as students hear about the event it will draw interest and participation in future business fairs, both to set an example for others and to garner support for their enterprises.

“The whole time I’ve been here, I’ve heard students talk about their small businesses they are trying to get off the ground,” said Pier, from Kokomo. “We wanted to give them a place to promote their businesses, since most don’t have a brick-and-mortar store you can visit. We’re giving them a platform to build word-of-mouth advertising.”

The club plans to host another fair during the spring semester.

Emilee Cregar debuted her business, EZ Clay, selling handmade polymer clay earrings.

“This is the first time I’ve tried to sell them, so it’s all new to me,” said Cregar, from Russiaville. She was inspired to start a business by her sister, who makes and sells cakes.

“In our family, we’re all pretty crafty,” she said. “I was trying to figure out what I could do that I would enjoy doing. I really like jewelry, so I thought I could do that.”

She spent two years learning how to cut and assemble earrings from clay, a slow process that requires focus on tiny details. Cregar also learned how to price her products, factoring in the time it takes to make them. The work is worth it when she sees customers excited to wear her creations.

“I want them to be able to wear what I made and feel pretty,” she said.

Like Cregar, family inspired Payton Deeter’s business choice, as he followed his grandfather’s path by becoming a real estate broker in August.

“I like being in the community, working with people face to face, learning about their lives and their needs, and helping them find their homes,” said Deeter, from Wabash.

With an audience of college students who could buy their first homes in the near future, Deeter prepared educational materials about how to prepare finances to be able to buy a home and outlining the home buying process.

“This allows me to get my name out to people I don’t normally see on campus, who are close to my age,” he said. “Maybe when they are ready to buy a house, they will remember me.”

In addition to reaching potential customers for his detailing business, Dell hopes to inspire other students.

“I want to show them if you want to start a business while you are in school, you can do it, as long as you are dedicated and work hard,” he said. “I want to share my story of how I started with a vacuum and hose, and now I’m detailing company fleets. It’s possible, if you find something you enjoy.”

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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