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NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Hosts Youth Entrepreneurial Academy

Thursday, July 19, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kristina Moy
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NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Hosts Youth Entrepreneurial Academy

The North Iowa Area Community College John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (NIACC JPEC) conducted the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy June 17-21. Thirteen high school students representing seven school districts participated in the Academy. This is the fourteenth year for the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy.

Invitations were extended to all North Iowa juniors and seniors through area high school guidance counselors and teachers earlier this year. Applicants were asked to complete an application packet which included recommendations from teachers, counselors and parents followed by an interview with Pappajohn Center staff. Participants included:

o Charles City - Holly O’Connell

o Clear Lake - John Glynn

o Hampton-Dumont - Becky Wrolson and Mackenzie Benning

o Homeschool - Enoch Pedersen

o Mason City - Bailey O’Brien, Besim Pivic, Grant Johnson, Janikka Costorena, and Jessica Graham

o Newman - Alyssa Lau

o Osage - Starr Huebsch

o Riceville - Alyssa Schwarck.

The objectives of the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy were to introduce students to entrepreneurship, provide students with an opportunity to apply their skills and creativity, help students understand critical thinking skills and give students another career option of being a "job creator” instead of a "job taker.” Part of being a job creator requires development of a business idea and a plan to put that idea into action. During the week-long academy, student teams completed this challenge and developed business plans for their unique business ideas.

Brad and Angie Barber, owners of Cabin Coffee Company; Randy Smit, Dordt College Professor; and Tim Putnam, NIACC John Pappajohn Entreprenurial Center associate director, served as instructors. Tom Kirby, Mason City High School and Diana Wright and Abby Nolte, Iowa State University students served as overnight counselors during the academy. Two former YEA graduates also assisted the attendees during the week, they included: Spencer Stensrude, NIACC/Buena Vista and Katie Cash, Clear Lake High School/NIACC. The participants got first hand advice on financials for their businesses from representatives from accounting firms of Hogan-Hansen, Kevin Dolphin CPAs and RSM McGladrey.

Following the daily classroom activities, the students traveled to several area businesses to learn first-hand knowledge from area entrepreneurs. This year’s academy highlighted Charles City, Mason City and Clear Lake areas where the students listened to the entrepreneurial stories of how these businesses were formed. Sunday afternoon the participants heard from Tom & Annette Cruse at Pita Pit and then completed the Ropes Course at the YMCA directed by Chelsie Wood. Monday’s tours were to Charles City to Jendro Sanitation with owner Alan Powell, Rustic Corner with owner Tami Vetter and Three C’s Bistro with James Cavanaugh. The second day they toured Eternity Wireless with Steve Ross and Brian Hendrikson, TeamQuest with Cindy Chizek, Brad Kunst and Vernon Johnson and GeJo’s by The Lake with owners Gene and Pat Galasso. The final entrepreneur that talked and fed the students was Mike Owens from Owens Family Concessions ETC on Wednesday evening.

The final day on Thursday, group PowerPoint presentations were given to an audience of 50 including families, friends and four "investors.” Alan Powell, Jendro Sanitation; Veronica Litterer, Director of the Charles City Area Chamber; Brian Randall, All State Insurance; and Mark Olchefske, Director of the North Iowa Business Accelerator/Incubator at NIACC served on a panel of "investors” that provided a critique and encouragement for the students’ business plan presentations.

Funding for the 2012 Youth Entrepreneur Academy was provided by the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation and Pappajohn Center. Students were able to earn two semester credit hours for attending the Academy or a $500 scholarship for classes taken at NIACC or online.

The national NACCE Innovation Award winning NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center provides college level courses and degree programs in entrepreneurship, as well as comprehensive consulting services for business start-ups, existing industries and owner transitions in the North Iowa region. Space is available for start-up businesses in the North Iowa Business Incubator. For more information, contact the NIACC JPEC at 641-422-4111.

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