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UNI student 'Recycles Rite'
Most college students stay away from getting up too early. They enjoy the choice of going to class in the late morning or after lunch. But, there's at least one University of Northern Iowa student out and about every morning at 7:30 a.m. – and it's not even for class!
Brian Hoyer, a junior majoring in general studies, is owner of Recycle Rite, a single-stream, curbside recycling collection and handling company in the Cedar Valley. Hoyer wakes up early every morning, gets his truck and recycling trailer ready, and then heads out on his collection route.
UNI student Brian Hoyer started Recycle Rite, a curbside recycling collection and handling company, after seeing the need for a recycling program in the Cedar Valley.
In December 2010, Hoyer saw the need for a curbside recycling program. The city of Cedar Falls didn't have a recycling program and he knew there was starting to be a demand.
"That's when I had my 'ah-ha' moment," said Hoyer. "A business in Waterloo was wanting someone to help with recycling and I knew that residents in Cedar Falls wanted curbside recycling."
With the help of UNI's Student Business Incubator (SBI), an educational learning laboratory and program of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, Hoyer began Recycle Rite.
UNI's SBI is designed to inspire and educate students interested in entrepreneurship and small business. Some benefits of the program include legal and accounting services, professional office space, training programs, networking opportunities and the advantage of having an incubator staff member available to answer questions anytime.
"Research has shown that student businesses have been most successful when incubator staff is physically located with the students and are available," said Katherine Cota-Uyar, associate director of UNI's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. "We try to keep our doors open and have people with business knowledge available to our students when they need help."
From his office in the SBI, Hoyer started promotions; customers signed-up and the company grew from there. To date, Recycle Rite serves more than 450 households and businesses and diverts, on average, eight tons of recyclable material per month from the Black Hawk County landfill. During Cedar Falls' Cedar Basin Jazz Festival in June, Hoyer and his crew supplied dumpsters for vendors, 18 beverage containers, 18 garbage containers and someone was there everyday making sure the park was clear of trash.
"That was our break into the waste industry," said Hoyer. "Eventually we'd like to expand to include waste management in our services."
"We're teaching Brian, as well as other students, that slow and steady growth is essential to a successful business," said Cota-Uyar.
In addition to taking a couple classes each semester and running a booming business, UNI's SBI keeps Hoyer busy with workshops, new learning opportunities, competitions and more. He was one of three winners in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition in April and will attend the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute, a weeklong intensive small business simulation, in August.