Meet the 2023 CYstarters Cohort

By Samantha Dilocker, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

To date, CYstarters has helped over 120 Iowa State University students and graduates start nearly 100 businesses since the program began in 2016.

The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship is thrilled to introduce the 20 student entrepreneurs that make up the 15 new student-developed businesses that were selected to participate in CYstarters during summer 2023. The 11–week intensive program gives young entrepreneurs the time, funding, network of mentors, and skillset development to start something while in college.

Dancing with Miss Maddy | Madeline Ladehoff

Dancing with Miss Maddy is a dance company that believes any body can be a dance body. Miss Maddy is the founder and artistic director. After advocating for and developing the program, she studies dance coaching at Iowa State University. Safety and inclusivity are her top priorities. She practices this through a gender-neutral dress code, the opportunity for bilingual classes, and age-appropriate classes and choreography. Maddy Ladehoff is a junior studying entrepreneurship and dance coaching with a minor in Spanish from Prairie City, IA.

Facebook | Instagram | Tik Tok


Plant Nannies | Blake Price

Plant Nannies takes care of everything from watering to repotting, pruning and pest control, diagnostics, fertilizing, rehab, and custom plant consulting. Plant Nannies strives to bring the future of plant care to the phones of millennials everywhere. Blake is a graduating senior studying agriculture studies with a minor in horticulture from Baldwinsville, NY.

Facebook | Instagram


KickBack | Foster Caspers

KickBack is a clothing brand to help push the importance of mental health. Foster is a freshman studying finance and entrepreneurship from Davenport, IA.



Bovi-Jet | Dakota Belling & Eugene Meyer

Belling & Meyer, LLC manufactures automated medicinal application systems for cattle. Their pass-through chute system can apply pour-on products along a cow’s back as well as surround spray for fly control. Data recorded on medicines applied can be accessed remotely by a farmer, which they can view privately at any time. Eugene is a recent graduate with a bachelor’s in industrial engineering from Mount Prospect, IL. Dakota is a graduating senior studying civil engineering from Granger, IA.


Chain Wrestling | Grant Stotts

Chain Wrestling is a NIL and apparel company that started in August 2021. Chain Wrestling works with college wrestling athletes to grow their NIL through selling apparel with their custom designs on it. Chain Wrestling has 15 signature athletes stretching across 10 Division 1 schools nationally. They also offer an apparel store for teams and clubs around the country. Grant is a graduating senior studying industrial design with a minor in business from West Des Moines, IA.

Website | Facebook | Instagram


Perfect Plantista | Zackry Brannen

Perfect Plantista’s mission is to enable happier, healthier houseplants for plant pros and beginners alike with sustainable, carbon-negative products that give back to the earth. Perfect Plantista’s Houseplant Insecticide currently sells online and in stores. Zackry is a freshman studying marketing and entrepreneurship from Belmond, IA.

Website | Facebook | Instagram


C’est la Crepe | Mia Nichols

C’est la Crepe is an authentic French food truck serving sweet and savory crepes to satisfy customers’ cravings and needs. Mia is a senior majoring in hospitality management from Treynor, IA.

Facebook | Instagram


Chingu BBQ | Andrew Nguyen

Chingu BBQ combines cooking supplies and fresh local ingredients in one customizable kit. This meal is perfect for family dinners, events or for those seeking new and interesting cuisine from the comfort of their home. As such, Chingu BBQ is dedicated to creating an authentic and affordable experience for whatever you need and wherever you are. Andrew Nguyen is a sophomore studying entrepreneurship from Peoria, IL.


Raah Clothing Company | Andrew Canon

Raah Clothing Company is a Christian streetwear brand focused on spreading the gospel through fashionable clothing. Andrew is a graduating senior majoring in marketing from Ames, IA.

Website | Instagram


Tom Collins Soap Co. | Tommy Collins & Michael Joensen

Tom Collins Soap Co. makes all-natural, premium soap with the goal of promoting men’s wellness. Tom Collins Soap Co. aspires to grow men’s access to wellness resources and promote a better mental and physical lifestyle for the people they serve. Tommy Collins is a junior studying advertising with a minor in entrepreneurship. Michael Joensen is a junior studying accounting and finance. They are both from Ankeny, IA.

Website | Instagram | LinkedIn Tik Tok | Twitter


Friest Designs | Sydney Friest

Friest Designs is a creative corner of fun and colorful goods such as stationery, stickers, signage, and gifts to brighten your day. Friest Designs products feature Sydney’s signature hand lettering styles and bright illustrations. Made in small batches from high-quality materials and with the ability to order your own custom-made piece, customers can be sure they are getting something they can enjoy for a long time. Sydney is a graduating senior studying graphic design and environmental studies from Jewell, IA.

Etsy | Facebook | Instagram


FLY Designs | Denzel Decker

FLY Designs aims to raise awareness for mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding the topic by selling products showcasing positive messages and affirmations and donating proceeds to mental health organizations. Denzel is a senior studying apparel, merchandising, and design from Waukon, IA.


Akyn | Kaleb Nichols

Akyn is an art-based organization that focuses on creating positive, safe spaces and cultural environments for Black youth through art events, community events, and more. Akyn provides networking opportunities, cultural environments, safe spaces, artistic opportunities, community building, and economic growth in the black community. Kaleb is a junior in liberal studies with minors in African American studies and sociology from Des Moines, IA.



Ensemble | Josiah Graves & Joshua Graves

Ensemble is a social media platform where artists can come, display their original music, and collaborate and compete with other artists for a chance to earn revenue. Ensemble aims to allow artists to jumpstart their music careers, collaborate with anyone virtually anywhere, and earn money on a social media app strictly for music. Josiah Graves is a senior studying graphic design. Joshua Graves is a junior studying business analytics. They are both from Davenport, IA.

Website | Instagram


True Force Technologies | Andrew Bergerson & Jacob Elliott

True Force Technologies helps athletes safely test their strength. The Force platform measures athletes’ isometric strength, allowing coaches to better understand their athlete’s strength, fatigue, and recovery from injury. Andrew Bergerson is a junior studying kinesiology. Jacob Elliott is a senior studying electrical engineering. They are both from Polk City, IA.