Clara City resident farmer and student receives entrepreneurship award
MINNEAPOLIS. 10/25/2013--Joel Boonstra, of Clara City, Minn., is this year's winner of the Judd Jacobson Memorial Award honoring an exceptional entrepreneur with a disability.
Boonstra received his $5,000 cash award at a reception on Wednesday, Oct. 9, hosted by the Courage Kenny Foundation in Golden Valley, Minn.
Boonstra experienced severe hearing loss after a childhood bout of meningitis. He is completely deaf in his right ear, with reduced hearing in his left ear.
"I have never let my disability limit me, so with some financial help, I'd like to continue to grow my business and see how much I can accomplish," he said.
Boonstra ventured into farming three years ago and rents 145 acres. He also works full-time at Prinsburg Farmer's Co-op as a turkey farmer, and is an online student at Bemidji State University, studying Business Administration. He expects to graduate in about a year.
"Agriculture has always been a passion of mine. I enjoy researching and learning about how to be a better farmer."
He plans to use the award money to expand into raising bison, reinvesting profits and gradually increasing the size of the herd.
"I hope to purchase four animals, raise them and creatively market the meat to restaurants through social media and a website, and at local farmers' markets," he said. "As a college student, with a wife who finished school not too long ago, a lot of our income goes toward paying for tuition and books. I have many well-thought out entrepreneurial ideas, but limited funds to carry them out."
The Award is named for the late Owatonna, Minn., business leader and entrepreneur who became a quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident. The $5,000 cash award is administered by the Courage Kenny Foundation, with funds made possible by Daniel J. Gainey, a lifelong friend of Jacobson's.
About Courage Kenny Foundation
Courage Kenny Foundation raises funds to support patients and clients of Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, which was formed in 2013 by the merger of Courage Center and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health.
About Allina Health
Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 12 hospitals, 14 pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services that provide home care, senior transitions, hospice care, home oxygen and medical equipment, and emergency medical transportation services. Learn more at allinahealth.org.# # #