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Heartland Community College students stand out with business ideas

April 30, 2021

Two Heartland Community College students have emerged as savvy business minds and scored seed money for their entrepreneurial ambitions. 

The Heartland STEM & Business department conducted the Elevating Entrepreneurs competition as the Spring semester came to a close. Originally designed to take place in-person, the contest’s organizers, contestants, and judges interacted in a virtual setting as finalists pitched their business ideas. 

After submitting a business plan, feasibility study, financial plan, and video elevator pitch, Heartland students Cintia Arias, Michaela Lahr, Roxanne Reed, Micayla Webster, and Carrie Woggon were all chosen as finalists to compete and present their businesses to a panel of local entrepreneur judges. 

First place went to Micayla Webster for Mutt Mess Pet Waste Removal, a service for busy people and folks with mobility issues to help with cleaning after pets.   

Second place went to Carrie Woggon for Queen Bee Candle Works, her business making environmentally friendly candle products. 

For coming in first and second place, Webster and Woggon received $2,000 and $1,000, respectively, to put their business plans into action. Awards are funded by the Heartland Community College Foundation. 

The panel of judges included Justin Bellas of Bellas Landscaping and Lil’ Beaver Brewery, Donny Bounds of Donny B’s Gourmet Popcorn, Ryan Curtis of The Shrimp Farm and Central Illinois Limo Service, Melissa Larson of CPG Printing and Graphics, and Chad Parker of Cybernautics. 

“This event allowed students to share their ideas and get exposure for their businesses,” said HCC Professor of Accounting Paul Kelson. “Everyone did an outstanding job and we really can’t thank our community judges enough for sharing their expertise with our students creating a true real-world teaching experience for them.” 

The final competition was held on Thursday, April 29. The video archive of the competition will be made available at

Written by: Steve Fast