2014 Young Entrepreneur of Year winner sets inspiring example

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by Marshanna Hester

MILWAUKEE - Spring has yet to produce life on trees bare from the winter, but the clouds and blue sky are a welcome sight for Carter Drake.


The 17-year-old started his own landscaping business two years ago, acting on a life-long passion to spruce up the outdoors.


"I've always enjoyed working," he said. "Even when I was little I turned down playing with my friends to follow my dad around with my little bubble mower. It's just something I've always enjoyed doing."


His business is called Dreamscape Landscaping.


Carter started with one client, but that number has now grown into more than seven.


At the start of this spring season, he has the potential to add five more.


"I do everything. I mow. I trim. I've done thatching," Drake continued. "I do aerating. I've built a retaining wall around a house."


Just like a business owner, he's made smart investments in equipment to do the job right.


Carter says it's an invaluable experience.


"I'm learning how to do book works, how to make good choices, how to work with people, how to advertise," he said.


Carter's business savvy isn't going unnoticed.


He received the 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award on Thursday.


Junior Achievement of Wisconsin is one member of the partnership that gives the recognition.


"Anytime I think you see someone that age who takes the initiative to move on a vision or idea and carry it through and do so in such a professional manner," said Tim Greinert, president. "It' not only inspiring for him, but I think for all of us that are involved in helping young people."


Through programs like JA Biz Town, the organization will teach 18,000 students this year how to run a business and be a smart consumer.


"First I got my check and I made a deposit to take out money and I took out $2," said one student participant.


"We hope our future young entrepreneur is right here in JA Biz Town today," said Greinert.


And Carter has this message to help them reach that goal.


"The opportunities are there and rather than waiting for them to come to you, just start looking for them," he said.


If you'd like to help inspire young people, just call Junior Achievement of Wisconsin at (414) 577-3800 to volunteer.

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