Entrepreneurial Spirit

By:
Trisha Doucette
Photos and renderings courtesy of
Boerne ISD, Daniel Stripling and Will Williamson
Pictured Above: Will Williamson, Jenny Breuer, Daniel Stripling

Two Boerne Champion seniors, Daniel Stripling and Will Williamson, combine passion and knowledge to invent Ace Made Golf, a golf ball dispenser that took first prize in the district’s Incubator.edu program.

The 2020-2021 school year marked the beginning of Incubator.edu in Boerne ISD. Under the direction of teacher Jenny Breuer, Incubator.edu is a national program that she is building on to create great talent in our community and encourage entrepreneurism in future graduates from both high schools in the district. Breuer explains that students will conceive a product or service idea, develop it and test it, all under the guidance of real entrepreneurs and business experts who serve as volunteer coaches and mentors.

The program sparked interest in Daniel Stripling and Will Williamson, two 2021 graduates from Boerne Champion high school and members of Cordillera Ranch. “The program was being taught by one of the best teachers in the district, Jennifer Breuer, and I knew I had to join her new class. I would encourage any student that enjoys learning how to run or start a business to join this program. Also, the relationships that you will make being in class are amazing because you meet and work with local entrepreneurs,” says Stripling.

After the first month of brainstorming project ideas, Stripling and Williamson landed on a concept they would pursue. Inspired by their love of golf, they created Ace Made Golf, a magnetic ball dispenser that attaches to the frame of a golf cart. Their goal was to make golf more enjoyable by allowing golfers the ability to store more golf balls while saving space at the same time, and speeding up the pace of play with this added efficiency. It was a success, resulting in the first-place prize of $7,000 awarded during the program’s Pitch Night where students from both Boerne and Champion high schools presented their businesses to judges from the community.

Already avid golfers, their knowledge of the sport was definitely a guiding factor in their success, but they credit two local businessmen for their dedicated mentorship throughout the process. “Our mentors are Jeff Dick and Derek Schriver. They are both very knowledgeable in the manufacturing department and are extremely helpful in the process of getting our product manufactured,” explains Stripling. Williamson adds, “Our plan from here is to choose a manufacturer and then have an injection mold created for our product to mass produce our idea.” 

Jeff Dick says his interest in the program stemmed from the hands-on curriculum that a normal curriculum does not teach — how to raise money and pitch to investors, estimate manufacturing costs, complete a marketing analysis, among many others. “Daniel and Will were great to work with. Being golfers, they were both very passionate and knowledgeable about their potential product. They worked hard and were pro-active about meeting with us. They weren’t afraid to ask questions and did a great job of taking their idea from conception to a tangible product with a strong business plan. I was very proud of their persistence throughout the semester. And….as a golfer myself, I would recommend the product,” notes Dick.

“Daniel and Will have excelled in this class and have taken their idea to the next level. I am excited to see where they go from here. They are great kids who have learned that their ideas have merit if they can find their target market and get their business launched.” – Jenny Breuer

Derek Schriver agrees, saying, “As we listened to each of the students pitch their ideas, the product that Daniel and Will were pitching seemed like the most compelling one to me, and one that I could really see myself adding value to because of my experience working with manufacturers in China. I thought I could help with some of their material sourcing and quotes. Daniel and Will were very responsive to the feedback that we gave them. I have a feeling we may be seeing them on store shelves in the near future! It was great working with all of the students, and I look forward to more opportunities to help our young entrepreneurs…I only wish they had these opportunities when I was in high school!”

The first year of Incubator.edu at Boerne ISD was successful for all involved. Breuer explains that as they continue to grow the program, it will be offered to seniors for the first two years. At that point, the plan is for students to take the class as a junior, pitch for funding at the end of that school year, and then run their business as a senior inside the next class which will be called Accelerator.

Will Hawkins has been involved with the program since its inception. After participating as a guest speaker for his daughter’s business class two years ago, Mrs. Breuer asked for his guidance in Incubator.edu. “I was more than willing to help as I have helped many people start their small businesses. At the first Pitch Night this past spring, I was on the panel to judge the best presentations from the four participating groups. The goal of the program was for teams to come up with a viable business and compete for seed money of $15,000. Honestly, all four groups had great presentations but the one that stuck out was the Ace Made Golf from Daniel and Will. It was an honor to participate,” says Hawkins. Both young entrepreneurs also attribute part of their success to Hawkins, saying, “He has been with our program from the beginning. He has spoken to us about being an entrepreneur and taught us great things about the business world.”

Just recently announced, the Ace Made Golf team has been named a quarter-finalist in the 2021 Incubator.edu National Pitch Contest and are anxiously awaiting word on their advancement to semi-finalist and finalist categories! “Daniel and Will have excelled in this class and taken their idea to the next level. I am excited to see where they go from here. They are great kids who have learned that their ideas have merit if they can find their target market and get their business launched,” says Breuer.

So, what does the future hold for these guys? Golf, for sure. Both play together at Cordillera Ranch at least two times a week and compete in the Junior Club Tournament every year, as well as other private golf tour events. And both are headed to College Station this fall where they will be roommates and attend Blinn College with plans to transfer into the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at A&M. 

Congratulations to their success and best of luck on their future accomplishments!

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