Oliver Kilgore, a first-year business student at Washington and Jefferson College, stands at matriculation.

First-year Student Places Third in IGNITE Entrepreneurial Competition

Created: November 30, 2021  |  Last Updated: January 5, 2022  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (November 30, 2021)—First-year student, Oliver Kilgore, has an electric business idea, and W&J’s IGNITE just gave it a big financial jolt.

Through its Ideas 2 Enterprise (I2E) program—a free, five-week business series aimed at providing fundamental skills to local entrepreneurs—IGNITE awarded Kilgore third place in the June 2021 Pitch Competition, and granted him $1000 for his business.

That business is All Scapes and Plants (A.S.A.P), a small lawncare and landscaping company, and Kilgore’s pitch for it was simple: go completely electric.

“There are currently zero all electric commercial services for lawn care in Washington, PA,” Kilgore said, “and I [wanted] to become the first.”

Before presenting at I2E, Kilgore had already begun the process of converting many of his emission-producing, gasoline-powered tools to battery-powered or electric tools, but he hit a snag in making the full transition: cost.

“A downside of choosing electric equipment over gasoline or diesel is the price,” Kilgore said. “Battery is around two to three times more [expensive] than gasoline equipment.”

But, with more customers looking to care for their green spaces in greener ways, he said it’s worth the investment.

The judges for the Pitch Competition agreed.

“Oliver’s pitch resonated powerfully with the judges,” said Lauren LaGreca, the manager of IGNITE. “We as human beings benefit from nature in so many ways…and in turn we have a responsibility to take care of it. It’s incredibly powerful to witness a rising college Freshman who is not only investing in the next step on his educational journey, but also [focusing on his future and] providing a high-quality lawncare experience without adding additional harm to the planet.”

A business major with an emphasis in entrepreneurial studies, Kilgore is indeed future-focused.

“Following graduation, I would like to continue to expand the services that my business provides as well as grow the size of my work crew(s),” he said. “Hopefully getting to the point of managing multiple crews that specialize in different services.”

By completing the I2E program and continuing his studies at W&J, he’s sure that he’ll get there.

“Just taking part in [I2E] alone showed me how…to become a successful business owner…and provided me with connections to other small business ventures,” Kilgore said. “I am amazed by the amount of [business-centered] activities and courses that are available for students here at W&J, and am confident that taking part in them will improve my entrepreneurial skill levels build connections.”

 

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu or call 888-W-AND-J.

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