Ice House Participant, Chris Tecklenburg, talks about the impact that the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program offered through Network Kansas has had on him and how it has helped him work toward launching his business, Tecklenburg Farms. The six-acre urban farm is located in a neighborhood on the west side of Hutchinson, KS.
Read the interview published on the Entrepreneurship Community Partnership. An excerpt of this interview is included below.
“Chris Tecklenburg completed the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program in Reno County during the Fall of 2018. Below he talks about the impact that this program has had on him and how it has helped him work toward launching his business, Tecklenburg Farms. The six-acre urban farm is located in a neighborhood on the west side of Hutchinson, KS.”
Q: Describe your business and how it began since participating in the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program.
A: “Tecklenburg Farms LLC was established in 2016. We are still building infrastructure and have not sold product yet. Our plans are to go all-organic by 2020. We are in the process of building a house adjacent to the farm, selling our house, and my wife quitting massage therapy of 20 years to be a full-time farmer. We have three children (ages 13, 11, and 9). This year we will plan on installing more infrastructure, laying out the plots, planting perennials, and growing many different vegetables.”
Q: What were your key takeaways from participating?
A: “The Ice House program was very encouraging. It thoroughly defines what an entrepreneur is and the mindset then challenges you to break traditional molds. It challenged me many times to think differently. It encouraged us to make sure a product is sold before you sell. It also encouraged you to go and meet your customer base. Get personal and ask them what they want, when they want it, and how much they need. This is a different mindset than ‘if I build it they will come.’ I have a passion for growing vegetables but if no one wants to buy them then my passion is washed up. I was also encouraged through the program to find something that makes our product different from everyone else. While we were already making wise stewardship choices in the way we grow vegetables we decided to go organic. It is different and to my knowledge an untapped market in Hutchinson.”