Bailey McDaniel didn’t initially see herself as an entrepreneur, but a group project from last year at Owensboro Innovation Academy is being reinvigorated as a possible non-profit organization.
McDaniel is now a junior at OIA and is an Owensboro Community & Technical College freshman early college student, and she was selected to participate in the Hager Scholars Program.
Hager Scholars are encouraged to develop and pursue projects related to their career interests, which provides them with an enhanced and individualized educational opportunity.
“Hager Scholars select a designated honors course each semester and they work closely with their instructor to design a project that is challenging, engaging, and rewarding,” said added Dr. Angela Ash, faculty advisor for the Hager Scholars program. “Bailey is an exceptional student and she found the perfect opportunity to channel her passion and energy in Dr. Bob Glenn’s Basic Public Speaking course.”
During her sophomore year at OIA, McDaniel’s class was divided into groups and they were asked to come up with a new business and detail some unique services and branding concepts.
Cafe du Chat is McDaniel’s vision of a coffee house featuring the opportunity to adopt rescue kittens and adult cats. Her mission statement for the cafe is “to help find orphaned cats a ‘furrever’ family that will love and care for them.”
A year later, her vision has landed her a finalist spot in KY Pitch, which is a statewide competition designed to inspire young innovators and entrepreneurs by providing an inclusive platform for future leaders to develop and pursue their ideas. College students are given an opportunity to pitch their business or idea stage concept to a large audience composed of investors, community leaders, and the public.
There are two divisions in KY Pitch — an “exploratory track” for those with a concept, or a “developed” track for those with a more advanced plan or a current start-up. McDaniel was selected as a finalist in the exploratory track division. Winners are rewarded with prize money and business support.
Growing up, McDaniel was always surrounded by family pets. While she admits to being a huge animal lover, she is partial to cats.
“I am the ‘cat momma’ of the house. They always want my attention,” she said. “That’s partially why I want to establish a business where people can be in a family-friendly environment with felines. The ultimate goal is to enhance the community with a business that also helps reduce the number of cats in shelters.”
The 2021 KY Pitch Final Event will be virtual, but not live. A panel of judges will review the submissions and select the winners based on a pre-determined rubric. Winners will be announced on April 16.
Learn more about the Cafe du Chat by watching McDaniel’s submission for the People’s Choice video. Voting is now live at KYPitch.com and will end on Friday. Voting is limitless, and the video submission earning the most votes will be awarded $1,000.