Nov 7, 2021

Student-Athlete Business Owners Attracted to Center for Entrepreneurship

Student-Athlete business owners are attracted to Center for entrepreneurship

(Tuesday, December 7; Sioux Center, Iowa) As the Dordt University Kim and Kathy Dooyema Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation develops, several Dordt University student-athletes are taking advantage of the opportunity to broaden their vision for possibilities post-graduation.

The center, which was announced in January 2020, offers students three paths: an entrepreneurship emphasis; an entrepreneurship minor; and entrepreneurship interest. The center is led by Jeff Kelly.

Payton Oostenink, a junior from Hull, Iowa and Ella Veldkamp, a freshman from Edgerton, Minnesota are both pursuing the emphasis route.

Oostenink, a member of the Dordt dance team, operates Potter and Clay Interiors and does anything from room renovations, to furniture restoration, and decorating.

“I love to see a space and think about what we can do with it. I love to see a space before a project and then see it completed,” says Oostenink.

Veldkamp, a member of the basketball and track programs, has also dipped her toe into business ownership with a videography business focusing on weddings and other similar events. Terracotta Films is Veldkamp’s business venture, one that began with a passion for capturing the moments surrounding important events in life.

“This all started with me getting a GoPro camera in sixth or seventh grade and I took video on vacations and trips just to remember those moments,” says Veldkamp. “Later on one of my sister’s friends was planning her wedding and didn’t want to spend a lot so she hired me to do it. From there I did a couple more weddings and began the process of legally making my own business. I put up a website and started an Instagram page for it.”

Both Oostenink and Veldkamp have watched one of their parents own and operate their own business. Oostenink’s mom owns and operates Paula’s Family Hair Salon out of the family’s home and Veldkamp’s dad owned a lawncare business as a side venture while working for the Minnesota State Patrol.

“I watch my parents work together,” says Oostenink. “My dad is more of the numbers and money person with his background and job in banking and my mom makes her business go. Watching them work to their strengths has definitely influenced me.”

“I see myself working in a business and doing events on the weekends at least to start,” says Veldkamp. “My dad had me work for his business and I saw a little bit of what it takes. It also showed me how much work it takes and how much grit you need. There’s so much that goes into business that people don’t think of.”

Seeing a parent own and operate a business is a significant factor in entrepreneurship according to Kelly.

“There was research conducted by a major university that tracked students’ interest in entrepreneurship, and the study found that some of the common characteristics included having a parent or close relative that created their own business; taking classes in college that opened their eyes to the potential; or having an idea for a product or service that they were passionate about,” says Kelly.

Kelly has a background in athletics and was a standout quarterback at Westmar College before graduating and working for several businesses. His wide and varied background led him to business, problem-solving, and eventually, Dordt University.

“I spent the first 11 years of my career as a collegiate football coach and understand the importance of game plan design and execution. The coaching background cemented my executional traits, coupled with the exposure I received working for a variety of companies that were very skilled in strategic planning and vision casting,” says Kelly.

The network Dordt offers is also enticing as those in the program will get opportunities to work with those already in their chosen fields.

“I’m excited to work with and learn from someone doing this (interior design) rather than just doing classwork,” says Oostenink.

That network also helps students move their ideas forward as they develop plans and find out if their ideas are realistic.

“If students have an idea for a product or service, we use a specific business plan template to address a variety of questions that they need to be thinking about," says Kelly. "This template begins to uncover where they are in their business planning process and what still needs to be considered. This action serves as “homework” that I ask the students to complete and then we set up a second session to review the template. We offer to assist them in the continued evolution of their product/service and guide them into the appropriate courses that could help them in their pursuit. We have also created a network of resources at the local and regional level that can assist with ideation and further solidifying their ideas."

While neither Oostenink nor Veldkamp have direct tie ins for business ventures in athletics, Oostenink says her athletic training is helpful as she anticipates her life post-graduation.

“I think I’m a creative person—that’s what has drawn me to dance. But there’s also a process to it, there’s lots of practice and discipline that I think will help me when I own my own business,” says Oostenink.

“I’m drawn to the program because I’ve already started my own business and because I’ve started my own business, I also realize there is so much that I don’t know,” says Veldkamp.

Kelly states, “Dordt University is committed to offering tools and resources to help our students, alumni, and community that may have an interest in entrepreneurship. We believe that all students can benefit from looking at life through an entrepreneurial and/or innovative mindset.”

To learn more about the Dordt Business Department and the K and K Dooyema Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation visit the center's site.

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