Like many students studying within the halls of the Pittsburg State Kelce College of Business, Matthew Yoakum has dreams of owning his own business after graduation.
“My dad owns a drilling company,” the Cleveland, Mo., native said, “and I’d like to take over that one day or maybe even start my own.”
Whichever route he takes, Yoakum, who double majors in business management and marketing, won’t be new to the business owner world. He started a lawn and landscaping business while in high school, and he has since created two additional businesses – one that raises money for the fight against testicular cancer and another that deals with buying and repairing used motorbikes.
His lawn and landscaping business, Matthew Yoakum Enterprises, began as a way to make money in high school. It now employs a staff of six and is prominent in the Kansas City area.
“That was an interesting endeavor for me, because I just kind of learned about owning a business as I went along,” Yoakum said. “I handle the finances and bookkeeping, which I pretty much learned on the fly.”
That experience inspired him to continue on his business-owning path, and he credits Pittsburg State’s Kelce College of Business with helping him launch his next two ventures.
“When I was looking at colleges, I saw that PSU ranked high on the charts for business schools,” he said. “We have a great program here at PSU, and I don’t know where I’d be right now if I had chosen a different school. PSU has taught me a lot about not only methods and theory, but also how to apply those things to the real world. Being here has been of great benefit to my entrepreneurship ambitions.”
The Save A Pair Company, which raises money to support testicular cancer awareness, came about while Yoakum recovered from an abdominal injury.
“I couldn’t get out and do much, so I was lying around thinking about ways to make an impact,” Yoakum said. “I began to notice that not a lot of attention was given to testicular cancer, and I saw that as an opportunity to make a difference and raise some money.”
Through the sale of items such as bracelets and T-shirts, The Save A Pair Company (www.save-a-testicle.org) has raised nearly $50,000, all of which are donated toward awareness and public education about the disease.
His motorbike endeavor, Yoakum MotorSports, is run through a Facebook page. Yoakum said he’s always been interested in motorbikes, and he decided to turn his hobby into a money-making venture.
Yoakum said PSU has played an integral part in helping him manage and improve his three businesses.
“Most people would say that their school couldn't have been a better choice to look good,” Yoakum said. “But honestly, besides my family and friends, I wouldn't be at the point I am today if it wasn't for my education at PSU.”