The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI first-year student wins award for self-made business

Caden Youngquist won the bronze Stevie American Business Award in the Student-Run Business of the Year category.
Isabella Tisdale
Caden Youngquist poses for a portrait in Iowa City on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Youngquist is the CEO of Youngquist Capital and a freshman at Iowa.

Caden Youngquist had his sights set on the world of business since his early years at North Scott High School in Eldridge, Iowa.

The first-year finance student at the University of Iowa and founder of Youngquist Capital recently received the bronze Stevie American Business Award in the Student-Run Business of the Year category on April 26.

The annual Stevie American Business Award is a prestigious honor that recognizes outstanding efforts and performances in American-run businesses.

According to ​​Bluefield Daily Telegraph, the honor involves only 12,000 nominees, while there are only nine award categories. In the Student-Run Business of the Year category, the gold winner was Epochs Inc., according to “The American Business Award.”

Youngquist said while he takes tremendous pride in his standing achievement, the bronze-level status will continue to motivate him and the entirety of Youngquist Capital to continue a push toward achievement and success.

“We won student-run business of the year bronze, so we weren’t at the top, but we’re working our way out,” Youngquist said. “We’ve been nominated on a local level for a lot of similar awards as well, so hopefully we can learn from this and keep building.”

His mom Michele Youngquist said his early interest in finance emerged during high school when he began teaching himself about stocks and dividends.

“I think he wanted to be his own boss, and then the idea for Youngquist Capital just happened,” Michele Youngquist said.

Clint Youngquist, Caden Youngquist’s father, said his son’s intention behind the business was to dive into investments.

“He spent a lot of time on YouTube, listening to other investors talk,” Clint Youngquist said. “I think it drew him into wanting to do all of this. He would rather invest the money he was making than spend it.”

Michele Youngquist said in 2021, Caden created Youngquist Capital as a holding company to protect his personal liability for future business endeavors. This preceded the development of his lawn care corporation, named Caden’s Mowing Co., in 2022.

“He wanted to create the LLC first to start getting his personal liability protected,” Michele Youngquist said. “At that point, we didn’t have any business or anything like that. But we started doing more research and decided to create the mowing company as a DBA, and name it Caden’s Mowing Co. So now, he’s doing his mowing business under the umbrella of Youngquist Capital.”

Caden Youngquist said once he established his parent company, Youngquist Capital, he redirected his focus toward his small mowing company, initially a side gig that grew significantly.

“I had a small business on the side mowing lawns, only five to 10 yards at the moment,” Caden Youngquist said. “We wanted to scale it to something larger, so we doubled down on the lawns we were doing.”

Caden Youngquist took his lawn care business and ventured south to the Quad Cities, where Caden’s Mowing Co. had reached nearly 50 accounts. However, as business began to boom, competitive contracting corporations posed a potential threat to his small business.

Caden Youngquist said he defended his business from industry competitors by lowering rates.

“In the Quad Cities, competition is fierce,” Caden Youngquist said. “Our model was to try to keep it affordable for everyone.”

Additionally, Caden Youngquist said he had desired the aspect of accessibility for the client base, so with the help of freelance app developers, Youngquist produced an app named Caden’s Mowing Co, a few months following the creation of Caden’s Mowing Co.

“We started an app, which made booking a mowing visit much easier than any other contractor in the Quad Cities, and I think that’s what separates us from everyone else,” Youngquist said.

Caden explained that the app allows clients to receive an instant quote on their lawn, within 5-10 minutes.

“I took a small computer class back in high school, I did the best I could. I did have to hire some freelancers to help me out, to get it to where I wanted it,” Caden Youngquist said.

With such success, however, comes some troubles. As a college student at the UI, Caden Youngquist said his greatest struggle is keeping up with his school work in Iowa City while simultaneously owning a business that currently operates in the Quad Cities.

RELATED: UI Tippie College of Business to offer new entrepreneurship major this fall

“Keeping up with the customer’s expectations is tough. I’ll be in class constantly getting a text message about needing a quote or whatever else,” Youngquist said. “Right now, I go home Thursdays, and I’m home Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to take care of 40 clients. My dad helps a lot, though. He’s a huge asset to me.”

While Caden Youngquist emphasized the help from his father, Clint Youngquist said his son does the work primarily on his own.

“I helped him and taught him the ropes with mowing, of course, but that’s all for him. He’s on his own at this point,” Clint Youngquist said. “It’s pretty impressive. I will pick up the slack when needed, though.”

After college, Caden Youngquist plans to continue on his entrepreneurial track, further creating businesses under the Youngquist Capital.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Isabella Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.