Published: Sept. 14, 2023 By

As an incoming freshman, the University of Colorado Boulder’s (CU Boulder’s) campus can be quite intimidating. There are thousands of students rushing to and from buildings, people whizzing by on their bikes, and campus sometimes feels like it goes on for miles. People’s nerves are high with excitement for what is to come out of the first semester in college. Many of us remember the exciting opportunities that lay ahead for college students. As Luke Bille is finishing up his senior year at the Leeds School of Business, he reflects back on the extraordinary things he has accomplished, what he wished he did differently and what is to come.Luke Bille and Cameron Klein, Co-Founders of Luke's Lawns

From Lawn Care to Leeds

Prior to his college career, Luke was running his own lawn care company: Luke’s Lawns. With 18 employees and a ton of landscaping equipment, Luke and his team serviced over 50 houses a week. Luke’s knack for entrepreneurship inspired him to attend CU Boulder thanks to its fantastic entrepreneurship department: the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship. 

Throughout his journey, Luke learned a lot about taking advantage of the opportunities that surround him. He wanted to scale his business even further, in order to possibly sell the company or grow it. With the help of his Co-Founder Cameron Klein, they went to ‘Now What?’ hosted by the Deming Center. 

“Through ‘Now What?’ we were able to get advice from lawyers and people who have been running their own businesses, who gave us a lot of financial and software advice. The Deming Center really cleaned up our business at the tail end. And then that actually got us in a position to be able to sell it.” 

Prior to the finance and accounting classes on the Leeds business curriculum, Cameron and Luke had not kept their records and books in order the correct way. The volunteers through ‘Now What?’ and the Deming Center were able to help them scale their business from 50 houses per week to over 100. With this huge leap, they were able to afford more equipment, trucks, and employees. These assets were sold to a few lawn companies in Parker, and the pair were able to make a huge profit!

Luke’s Leap into New Venture ChallengeLuke Bille with the ClimateScaping team holding their award check

Luke’s Lawn’s using ‘Now What?’ to scale his business isn’t the only way Luke has utilized the Deming Center. He has also competed in New Venture Challenge (NVC), a CU Boulder business pitch competition for up to $100,000 in cash prizes. New Venture Challenge allows teams to create real-life impact and get the funding they need for any entrepreneurial endeavor. Luke was able to take advantage of the opportunity NVC provided, as well as the mentorship opportunities from the Deming Center, and even made it to the final five teams out of seventy-five with Climate Scaping. Climate Scaping, founded by CU entrepreneurship professor Tara O'Brien, is on a mission to replace grass yards that waste a lot of water with more eco-friendly options including rocks and native plants. Luke started working for Climate Scaping with his Co-Founder from Luke’s Lawns, Cameron Klein. Luke and Cameron met Tara through a consulting meeting at the Deming Center, and Tara was inspired by their passion and knowledge of landscaping. Luke notes that the experience he got from competing in the NVC was like no other. He says that “having the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of attendees was “one of the coolest experiences of my life”. 

Success, Consistency and Building Relationships

Creating valuable connections with people is everything when it comes to business. Because of the resources that the Deming Center has provided on Luke’s journey, he was able to get a summer internship from one of his mentors in NVC along the way. Luke mentions that Luke Bille and Cameron Klein pitching ClimateScaping at New Venture Challenge

“Success is measured by the person who shows up every day and is consistent about it. You don’t have to be the smartest guy or girl in the room… If you’re the most consistent, and you build relationships with your classmates, professors, and others, I promise you success will follow. There are so many successful people at Deming and I have loved learning from them.”

The Deming Center: Where Connections Drive Business

Luke is a prime example of what can happen when you utilize the valuable resources around you. The Deming Center is a great place for everyone to collaborate, learn, and curate ideas. Are you inspired to connect with entrepreneurs? The Deming Center has so much to offer and we can’t wait for you to stop by and help further your entrepreneurial journey!

 

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