Students display business skills at Cherokee Nation entrepreneurship fairs


Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker views Vian freshman Morgan Robinson’s business display at the May 6 Entrepreneurship Day in Tahlequah.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Area middle and high school students traveled to Tahlequah and Claremore to display their creativity and business skills for Cherokee Nation Entrepreneurship Day events.

A May 6 event in Tahlequah and a May 13 event in Claremore had 120 students enter their ideas for new businesses, with the top ideas taking a $700 grand prize.

Seventh-grader Hannah Hart, of Vian, placed first in the middle school division at the Claremore competition and took home $400. She developed a business to help students who did not make a sports team improve their skills to raise their self-esteem and have a better chance of receiving a jersey the next year.

“I am excited and thrilled that I was able to accomplish my goal of developing a winning business,” Hart said. “I saw kids getting discouraged year after year because they didn’t make the team or get a jersey. I just wanted to help them boost their confidence through this business idea.”

The Cherokee Nation Small Business Assistance Center event offered students the opportunity to become an entrepreneur and is formatted similar to a science fair. Students are asked to develop a small business, which includes marketing and advertising and financial planning components, as well as a written business plan, and display it on a poster board, which is then judged.

“Encouraging entrepreneurship is vital, especially among our youth. Getting them to start thinking about their future is important to help foster the next generation of small business owners,” said Stephen Highers, entrepreneur development manager of Cherokee Nation Small Business Assistance Center. “The Cherokee Nation Commerce Department, with the sponsorship of the Cherokee Nation TERO department, is proud to invest in the Cherokee Nation’s future. A thriving future for the Cherokee Nation means a flourishing future for all of northeast Oklahoma.”

Cherokee Nation Tribal Employment Rights Office was the premier sponsor of the two Entrepreneurship Day events. TERO donated $6,000, which was used for the prize money so the young entrepreneurs could use the winnings as seed money to further their business ideas.

Locust Grove seventh-grader Alex Bailey received $700 and first overall at the Claremore event for his classified ads for kids business. Vian seventh-graders Kaycee and Kylee Haning received $700 and first overall at the Tahlequah event for their dog service business.

Other winners from the Tahlequah Entrepreneurship Day include:

Middle School Division

1st Place – Cash Wright, Vian Middle School, $400

2nd Place – Jolie Morgan and Taylor Varnon, Cherokee Immersion Charter School, $300

3rd Place – Jordan Wells and Mikeesha Watts, Vian Middle School, $200

4th Place – Brooklyn Jumper and Alexis Kleman, Vian Middle School, $100

5th Place – Autumn Standingwater and CayLynn Williams, Chouteau Middle School, $50

High School Division

1st Place – Sharon Stanley and Serena Schaffler, Sequoyah High School, $400

2nd Place – Raymond Philpott and Meekah Roy, Sequoyah High School, $300

3rd Place – Kelsi Edgell, Tahlequah High School, $200

4th Place – Devon Bird, Sequoyah High School, $100

5th Place – Starr Beaver and DaKota Kahbeah, Sequoyah High School, $50

Winners from the Claremore Entrepreneurship Day include:

Middle School Division

1st Place – Hannah Hart, Vian Middle School, $400

2nd Place – Ashley Livingston, Locust Grove Middle School, $300

3rd Place – Kaytie Bell and Allison Guthrie, Vian Middle School, $200

4th Place – Lynzie Jenkins and McKennah Moore, Locust Grove Middle School, $100

5th Place – TeeJay Trotter and Lance Leaf, Vian Middle School, $50

High School Division

1st Place – Meredith Brown and Trevor Petors, Bartlesville Mid-High School, $400

2nd Place – Lucia Montiel, Bartlesville Mid-High School, $300

3rd Place – Jacob Cowart, Vian High School, $200

4th Place – Morghan Taylor, Vian High School, $100

5th Place – Morgan Robinson, Vian High School, $50

Cherokee Nation News Release
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