SHERIDAN — Braden West and Jhett West both have dreams of owning and running businesses in the agriculture industry, and those dreams were helped along with seed money and mentoring from the Youth Business Ventures Competition.
The Sheridan County Youth Business Ventures Competition is coordinated by the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The competition, open to any Sheridan County citizen ages 8 to 18, provides winners with $500 of seed money and possible access to additional funding over the next year based on the success of the businesses and their needs. Selection panel members are also available as mentors for the young entrepreneurs.
The West boys were both in the senior, 13- to 18-year-old, category of the competition.
Braden West plans to create Opportunity Genetics, LLC, an elite swine production company focusing on raising hogs from farrow to marketing either as weaned elite swine genetics for show or as finished farm-to-table pork.
Jhett West owns an existing business, Code Blue, which sells a skin and hair health stimulator that increases the hair growth on animals. He plans to use the competition funds to expand his sales to additional consumers and with more efficiency and create an app for online product orders.
“Through the Youth Business Ventures Competition, we hope to encourage entrepreneurism in our local youth and provide them with the tools for success with seed money, mentorship and Chamber resources,” said Dana Pearce, vice chair of the Chamber’s Ag and Natural Resources Committee. “The process of developing a business plan, financial statements and a marketing plan helps participants with their future careers, goal setting and gives them the foundation for starting and growing a business.”
AgTerra Technologies, Inc., Three Peaks Real Estate, Sheridan Local Foods and the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Ag and Natural Resources Committee all contributed funds given to the two men.