Young local entrepreneur Denzel Decker receives special recognition at 2018 Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Gala

Receives special recognition at Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Gala ... Waukon High School sophomore Denzel Decker, son of Brad and Becky Decker of rural Luana, was invited to attend the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Gala at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) in Mason City September 26, where he was given special recognition for his entrepreneurial efforts in starting his own cupcake business, Decker Delish. In addition to the special recognition award he is pictured above with, Decker also received a $1,000 award and was also able to meet and visit with John Pappajohn (pictured in the photo below), which he considered quite an honor. Submitted photos.

Waukon High School sophomore Denzel Decker, son of Brad and Becky Decker of rural Luana, received special recognition at the 2018 Pappapjohn Entrepreneur Gala held September 26 at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC)  in Mason City. The event celebrates north Iowa’s entrepreneurs in four award categories: Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, the Innovation Award, and Business of the Year. Twelve finalists were named in each category, and the winners were announced at the gala.

Although not eligible for the above awards yet due to his young age, the judging committee awarded a special recognition to Decker as a student entrepreneur for his cupcake business, Decker Delish. Decker had attended the Summer 2018 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy at NIACC in July of this year and had earned a $500 seed money award at that event. As part of his special recognition at the Entrepreneurial Gala, Decker received an award of $1,000 and was also able to meet the Gala’s namesake, John Pappajohn.

Further information shared by organizers of the Entrepreneurial Gala highlighted the reasoning for Decker’s special recognition within the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category. “This recognition was not a planned award. Our judges were so impressed with his business model and his social impact that they wanted to acknowledge him with a special recognition.”

Decker founded Decker Delish in 2016 at the age of 12. The business creates and sells cupcakes at weekly farmers markets, vendor shows, via direct order, and directly to businesses and event venues. Highlights noted during Decker’s special recognition announcement stated that Decker has “built an admirable business venture, displaying financial acumen and a strong grasp of marketing and community responsibility, all before the age of 16.”

With over 50 years of experience in entrepreneurial endeavors, John Pappajohn is one of the most recognized and celebrated business leaders in and outside of the Midwest. He was one of the early venture capitalists and has been involved in over 100 start-ups and has served as a director in over 40 public companies.

Pappajohn and his wife, Mary, have gifted more than $100 million to various philanthropic causes and John Pappajohn has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors throughout his career.

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