2022-23 Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge Finalists Award Totals $500,000

AMARILLO, Texas—Five Amarillo-area businesses were awarded a total of half-million dollars in business capital funding during the 26th annual Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge award ceremony.

The Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge is a program of the WT Enterprise Center and funded by the Amarillo Economic Development Corp.to assist entrepreneurs in expanding an existing primary business in Potter and Randall counties.

This year’s winners, announced March 2, are Creek House Honey Farm in Canyon, and iDocket, Haven Aero, Awesome Water Solutions and Pro Chem Sales, all in Amarillo.

A team of independent judges reviewed the recipients’ investor fact sheets and business plans to decide who would be awarded up to $100,000 for expansion of their businesses. According to recipients’ business plans, all five companies will be hiring a total of 200 employees over the course of the loan cycle, which can be forgiven as expectations are met. The banking partners that will disburse funds for this year’s recipients are Amarillo National Bank, Happy State Bank, and First United Bank.

Owners George and Paige Nester started Creek House Honey Farm in 2011. A family-owned farm and store that sits on 60 acres and promotes agritourism throughout the year. What began as a hobby in their kitchen grew exponentially. They realized that they were filling a need in the community and built a small storefront on their property in 2018. Word spread across the Panhandle about their beeswax skincare line’s effectiveness for healing and repairing skin ailments and it soon started to outsell the honey. George is a pharmacist who understands the scientific properties of their products, and with his wife Paige, continues to work together to develop new formulas. They plan to expand their current operation because of their growing sales base which is now over 42,000 customers. Their AEC funding will allow them to upgrade their space for a third time to include more manufacturing space for their natural skincare line.

iDocket is a Texas-based, HUB Hispanic- and woman-owned LLC that provides software for court and land records in 106 counties across Texas. They have 22 different products that operate as government office database management and reporting systems, as well as provide public access to search and download judicial information. Amelia Balderrama is the sole owner of iDocket and has been actively involved in software development and servicing the local government industry since the early 2000s. Her extensive insight into the unique needs of government officials allows iDocket to design and implement successful software products. In recent years, she has formed relationships with state-level government entities, such as the Office of Court Administration, which allows iDocket to expand its footprint. AEC funding will provide the capital to hire resources to support their cloud migration while also expanding their target market.

Haven Aero is an aviation solutions company specializing in aircraft acquisitions and brokerage, helping individuals purchase and manage their own aircraft, and offering bespoke charter services for business and leisure passengers. Through November 2022, owner Travis Lamance  has successfully transacted the purchase and sale of 10 aircraft, hoping to double that number in 2023, ultimately transacting two aircraft per month in 2024 and beyond. Haven Aero currently has six managed aircraft, and helps owners track maintenance, secure adequate insurance coverage and maintain proper pilot staffing and training. AEC funds will be used to secure pilots, pilot training, and software and app development.

Founded in 2016 by Tony Stokes, Awesome Water Solutions is a plumbing company that specializes in water treatment, hot water, and the care, management, and support of all water systems. Their mission is to stop the cycle of reacting to a problem and instead use their expertise to be proactive and prevent problems from happening in the first place. AWS supplies their expertise in the care, management, and support of all water systems to help resolve water problems like corrosion, scale, and biofilm caused by inadequate water treatment and help mitigate the potential of future problems through preventive measure service and water treatment. AEC funds will help them focus on targeting dairy and property management industries as well as the implementation of digital marketing campaigns and website development.

Pro Chem Sales was founded in 1987 as a wholesale distributor of chemicals and products for golf, sports turf, landscaping, and pest control industries. Owners Garry and Kim Rich and their son Tyler have worked in every position in the company over the last 35 years. Today they focus on the larger picture of the company, namely the growth and strategic maneuvers needed to keep the company on the intended path. AEC funds will help them hire employees who will focus on large municipality contracts in cities from Abilene and Odessa along the Interstate 20 corridor which will continue the goals of the AEC to bring income from outside of the Potter/Randall five-county Metropolitan Statistical Area.

For information on next year’s competition, email [email protected] or call 806-651-8500.

WTEC is a department of WT’s Paul & Virginia Engler College of Business and works side-by-side with America’s SBDC at WTAMU by supporting economic development throughout the Texas Panhandle.

WTEC provides Panhandle entrepreneurs business coaching, access to facilities, access to capital, and various other trainings and programs to assist them in growing companies with strong leadership. WTEC also aims to provide opportunities for college of business students to intern in local businesses showing them first-hand the hard work and dedication entrepreneurs must have to be successful.

WT is committed to serving the region and well beyond with successful entrepreneurs and business leaders who are empowered to lead others. Partnering and retaining community businesses to improve the quality of life in the Panhandle and beyond is a key component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $120 million.