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32 Students to Learn About Building a Business at Entrepreneurial Camp

Thirty-two business students from a handful of Iowa colleges are heading to Okoboji to see if they can convince real investors that their not-so-real business is viable.

The Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute, a five-day business-building workshop in its eighth year, puts teams together to build businesses in a sort of boot camp that teaches students how to build a business.

When finished, a panel of area and business experts listens to pitches each team makes and determines how to spend fake money on the ideas. The boot camp starts Aug. 4 and runs that whole week in the Okoboji area of northwest Iowa.

The workshop “has helped build so much momentum and support for entrepreneurship in the area over the past several years,” said Kathy Evert, president and CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation. “The week-long event is always fun, high-energy, and very rewarding, which makes everyone involved quite proud.”

Among the keynote speakers scheduled to appear at the workshop are Tom Bedell, who built Bedell Guitar Company in the area; Berkley Bedell, whose company is a top fishing tackle manufacturer; and Michael Vasquez, cofounder of PACE Health Management, which developed one of the first fully implemented electronic medical records system in the U.S.

The students are from University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, Buena Vista University and Iowa Lakes Community College.

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