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YEA student uses The Point at Otterbein to develop her idea all the way to national recognition

YEA student uses The Point at Otterbein to develop her idea all the way to national recognition

High school student Allison Ricker was struggling, so she decided to use her time with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) of Columbus to solve her problem.

YEA is a year-long, hands-on class that transforms middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs. YEA enables them to transform their ideas into enterprises that create economic and social value for a better world and to develop the character or tomorrow’s leaders.

“Our instructors told us to make a list of every problem we were struggling to solve in our lives. So I made the list and as a soccer player, keeping my cleats clean was one of the items. It was then that I formulated my idea for Decleated,” Ricker said.

Decleated is a cover that molds to the bottom of a cleat to allow for easy cleaning and removal of any dirt off of cleats. Ricker has been able to use the facilities at The Point at Otterbein University, the host cite for YEA, to take her company idea from its initial stages on paper, to a working prototype with presentation, all the way to the national YEA pitch competition in Rochester, NY. Ricker won the Franklin County, Ohio, regional competition to qualify for the national Saunders Competition.

“There were 61 other presenters and the idea of giving my presentation in front of the seven judges and the 100-plus audience members was very scary but also very exciting,” she said.

Even if Decleated did not finish as the top idea at the 2018 Saunders Competition, Ricker’s idea has generated a lot of interest in her company and product.

“Allison created one of the most talked about products at the national competition,” said YEA-Otterbein Point Program Manager Carly Cornell. “I’ve heard from several of my national YEA contacts about how impressed they were with her presentation and idea. She has also generated a lot of buzz in town as well at her booth at the Westerville Fourth Friday Festival in May. Several local soccer clubs want to partner with her.”

Ricker, a senior at Westerville South High School, wants to continue pursuing Decleated and sees her next move as applying for a patent to protect her intellectual property and design. She credits The Point at Otterbein University with giving her the resources she needed to be at this stage in her company’s development and with achieving the level of success she has had so far.

“Otterbein offered me many resources and helped me get to Sauders, like input from teachers on certain aspects of my company and business plan. I was also able to access the computers and machinery needed to work on my product and presentations. I’m not sure I could have done this anywhere else.”


Learn more about YEA Columbus on their Facebook page.

Find out all The Point has to offer on OtterbeinPoint.com.