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Hive competition gives special opportunity to Billings student entrepreneurs

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Posted at 11:12 PM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-28 08:35:59-04

BILLINGS - High school entrepreneurs pitched their ideas in a competition called the Hive at the Babcock Theater on Wednesday.

It was a chance to inspire students to present their companies and also to encourage small businesses in Billings.

Danielle Brower, a student at Skyview, won the competition.

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KTVQ photo

"Oh my hands were queasy and my legs were shaking so much, " Brower said. "I was so nervous, but I think it went well."

Brower has been running Nelly Nicole Designs for two years.

"I created this business using my art tactics and a solution to a problem of losing your lip balm holder all the time," Brower said. "So I created lip balm holders and eco-friendly and sustainable stickers."

Kylie Swanton, also a Skyview student, took the second prize with her business, Kylie's Calligraphy.

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KTVQ photo

Caden Dekievet, a student at the Career Center, took third with his clothing line Don't Shy Away.

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KTVQ photo

"Don't shy away from the challenge, don't shy away from your problems," Dekeviet said. "I want people to improve and change and be passionate about something. I also want them to be comfortable and confident because confidence is the main thing and they both go hand in hand. And that's the need that don't shy away fulfills."

Valley Credit Union came up with a Hive idea in 2019 and postponed the program because of COVID.

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KTVQ photo

"We'd like you to open your business in Billings, hire Billings kids, hire Billings people so that it stays here and our economy will continue to grow," said Brandon Scala, vice-president of business development for Valley Credit Union.

Scala said the funding, the mentoring for the winner and making a pitch to successful businessmen provide a great opportunity for the students.

"This is an experience these kids will carry with them for a long time, " Scala said.

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KTVQ photo

"Congratulations to all six of you," Mike Nelson, Northern Hotel owner, said to the students. "You did a fantastic job."

Valley Credit Union awared the $5,000 first prize, the Norther Hotel gave the $1,500 second prize and the $1,000 third prize.

The winner, Brower, receives mentoring from the Billings Chamber and Big Sky Economic Development's Rock 31 along with advertising help.