Millennials are taking charge of their future very early on and they’re being exposed to this through unique student organizations helping students connect their academic learning with real-world experiences. We spent time with one young entrepreneur to learn about his business venture and how he got started.
Tell us who you are and what you do.
I am Danny Sertich, Minnesota DECA’s Vice-President of Communications and entrepreneur. As a state officer for Minnesota DECA, I represent 4,700 members. I also have the task of running our State Career Development Conference with the other officers and staff.
Outside of work and school I run cross-country and track, play hockey and golf, and canoe/camp with my friends. This coming summer  I will be going on a 45-day expedition into the Arctic Circle with seven other crewmembers. This expedition will follow the Coppermine River in Canada to the Arctic Ocean. This is a 2nd year trip for the Les Voyageurs, Inc. program after I spent 30-days in the Canadian wilderness with a similar crew and over 350 miles of portaging and paddling.
I have one younger brother, Shjon, and we enjoy many of the same activities. With his blonde surfer-boy hair, he always finds a way to make me smile. I wouldn’t want a different person to be around at home!
We heard you’re a young entrepreneur. Tell us what your business is and how you got started.
Yes! I own Versolin a business consulting firm. I started this after I competed with a business plan for DECA in 2015-16. A category of DECA’s competitive events involved a market research project with local businesses. Students work with a real business to formulate a plan to solve a problem (determined by a topic area put out by DECA, Inc. each year). DECA picks these topics based on trending problems in the business world, so often times these problems apply to the business they’re working with, and the business actually finds a way to implement the plan.
With a combination of my experiences in DECA (the business plan and a market research project) I realized I could actually make money from the consulting that DECA students are already doing. I explored the idea while I worked for the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, and with the feedback from local businesses there was a common theme. Many business executives and owners had a disconnect with the upcoming Millennial Generation—they just didn’t understand us. Using this gap as my niche, I started Versolin in August and I am now using it to compete in DECA’s Business Growth Plan.
In the recent past, Versolin did more targeted marketing for other businesses than any other service we provided. Now, with the Business Growth Plan, I am evaluating the possibility to engage in the venture capital market (currently untapped in St. Cloud, MN).
What’s the most important advice you ever received?
“Find something you’re passionate about and stick with it,” or “use your talents to make money.”
These two pieces of advice are the reason I am here today. If I didn’t have the courage to start my business or run for office, I’d just be the average high school student.
What advice would you give other students?
If there’s one piece of advice that I’d like to give to other students, it’s to not listen to what other people say. Actually, listen to advice and ignore those who tell you that you can’t succeed.
Minnesota DECA is a career and technical education student (CTSO) organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. Learn more about Minnesota DECA to learn about their mission and how you can get involved.