- Sponsorship -

Entrepreneurial student wins $5,000 to expand his lawn-care business

Readies for snow removal with onset of winter

Calvin Pimpleton kept busy last summer mowing lawns with the business he started, Calvin’s Lawn Care.

Now, the 16-year-old entrepreneur has bigger plans after winning a $5,000 grant in October’s “5×5” competition held by Start Garden, a local organization that offers funding for five startup businesses that give a 5-minute pitch to a panel of judges. The junior at Innovation Central High School’s Academy of Business, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship (ABLE) program was up against high-tech companies and experienced business owners who were hoping to land the prize.

Calvin Pimpleton is a junior at Innovation Central High School’s Academy of Business, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship (ABLE) program

Calvin, 16, started his business last year by towing an old lawn mower and yard equipment on a trailer behind his bicycle. He won $1,000 last spring in a Start Garden competition that allowed him to upgrade his equipment.

Laurie Supinski, a program director at Start Garden who has mentored Calvin, says his attention to detail and entrepreneurial spirit won him the award. Start Garden is designed to provide deserving businesses access to capital, and Calvin’s pitch fit the mission of the organization, she said.

“It was really not an investment in Calvin’s business; it was an investment in Calvin,” said Supinski, who said she was not involved in the decision to award him the prize.

With the $5,000 prize in his pocket, Calvin plans to find a zero-turn lawn mower that he can put on a trailer behind the pickup truck he acquired from one of his customers in exchange for his work last summer.

“I’m a solo act right now, but I also want to employ some younger teens,” said Calvin, who is lining up snow removal work for the winter months through his Facebook Page, Calvin’s Lawn Care.

Calvin Pimpleton advertises his lawn-care company through postings on his neighborhood association’s Facebook page (courtesy photo)

Good Customer Service

Calvin relies on his neighborhood association’s Facebook page not only to spread the word about his business, but also to thank his customers and show off his work with before-and-after photographs. Satisfied customers give his work their “likes” and glowing comments.

“Calvin is quite the guy,” said Ann Collins, one of his customers. “He really knows how to sell his services. And, he does what he says he will do, which is nice.”

Calvin, whose father died when he was 10, credits his mother, sports and his church with motivating him to get on his school’s honor roll and find success in life.

Innovation Central High Principal Mark Frost says Calvin exemplifies the mission of the ABLE program at his school, which counts Amway Corp. as one of his community partners. “It only seems fitting that a student supported in part by Amway rises to the top of an entrepreneurial competition.”


Start Garden

New Innovation Central High Mixes Connections with Business, Community and Education

Innovation Central High School junior Calvin Pimpleton started his lawn-care business by pulling his equipment behind his bicycle. He now has a truck (courtesy photo)

- Sponsorship -
James Harger
James Harger
James Harger left School News Network in January of 2020. James previously reported on West Michigan's economy, courts and politics for The Grand Rapids Press and Mlive.com for more than 37 years. He also is employed as Servanthood Leader at Immanuel Lutheran Church in downtown Grand Rapids. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he also has worked for publications in Holland, Mount Pleasant and Lansing. He is married to Lisa and has one daughter, who lives in Ann Arbor.


The changing of guard – as long-time educator and AD welcomes a new one

Godwin Heights Football Coach Brandon Kimble will take over as the district’s athletic director when Robert Hisey, dean of students and athletic director, officially retires Nov. 2...

Whole-child advocates ready to lead, collaborate

SNN gets to know these new elementary principals in this edition of Meet the Principal...

Amid uncertainty, new protocols, there’s laughter, new connections

Junior Olivia Austin reflects on the first day of a very unique school year...

District welcomes new administrators, ready to ‘lead through uncharted waters’

New administrators share their thoughts on starting their posts during a pandemic...



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Two high schools, newly renovated, await return of students

Two major renovation projects at Ottawa Hills and Union high schools are part of a 30-year, $175 million school improvement bond approved November 2015 with the majority, $155 million, earmarked for construction...

City, schools come together to create green schoolyards for students

A new green schoolyard for Burton Elementary/Middle is one of four such projects the City and Grand Rapids Public Schools will complete in the next 12-18 months...

In class, online, both? Parents, students wrestle with choices

Students, parents, teachers and others share their feelings about the start of this school year...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU