Senior seeks loan to expand stand up paddleboard business

During their first week of college many freshman are busy settling into their dorms and getting used to classes; Kyle Dickman was planning to open his own business.

After taking just two classes at the University, Kyle called his father Scott Dickman and told him about his plan.

“I told him to hold up until he had gone through a semester,” Scott said. “Low and behold after a semester he started his own business.”

Kyle, currently a senior is the President of Bros Boards, a retail board shop that sells stand-up paddle boards.

He said one of the many things that inspired him to start his own business was Hamilton endowed professor of entrepreneurship Gene Poor’s entrepreneurship class.

Poor said he thinks the current day in age is a good time to start your own business.

“I think it’s a young person’s world,” he said. “I wish I was younger.”

The idea for Kyle’s business started when he discovered Body Glove and Imagine Surf stand-up paddle boards, which are more affordable than many other boards because they are made from plastic instead of fiberglass, he said

“I figured that was a great opportunity to bring the sport to the Midwest,” Kyle said.

Scott said his son’s professionalism never ceases to amaze him.

“I’ll never forget when he went to see his first customer,” he said. “He had talked to him on the phone many times and when he walked in to see them, [Kyle] was 19 at the time and the guy looked at him and said ‘boy you’re young.’”

While in high school Kyle competed in an entrepreneurship competition through the Business Professionals of America where he made a business plan for a company similar to Bros Boards.

“I really liked the process and I liked the fact that I was making all the decisions and was getting to do things the way I wanted to and that’s what got me into entrepreneurship in Bowling Green,” he said.

In the spring of 2013 Kyle competed in The Hatchery program; he went through a nine week mentorship program where he perfected his business plan and got himself ready to present it to investors.

Kyle presented a plan to the investors to open a cable wakeboard park in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“It has about a 10 acre lake that has six towers around the lake with cable systems in the towers and the cable system moves at about 20 miles per hour pulling up to eight riders,” Kyle said. “It eliminates the need for a boat so it makes it much less expensive and more accessible.”

He did not receive any funding through the Hatchery program.

“Unfortunately the investors were looking to make investments of about $10,000 at a time, and I asked for $1.1 million,” Kyle said. “So when I asked for that the crowd there was [shocked].”

Since the competition, Kyle has refined his business plan further to minimize the amount of money he needs to about $800,000.

“It’s a capital intensive venture,” he said. “I need a lot of money up front to buy the park and purchase the equipment and then the money starts to come in.”

Poor said he thinks The Hatch was a good experience for Kyle, but it was more of an experience for him than an attempt to earn money.

“It gave him a sense of experience of what it’s like to be in front of people,” he said. “To feel the intimidation from those who have the potential to make that kind of contribution.”

Kyle is currently looking for investors and has been talking to a bank in North Carolina to get approved for a loan so he has to ask investors for less money.