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Young Entrepreneurs Earn Start-up Funds at UI Business Camp

Six middle school students recently earned seed capital awards for presenting the best business plans at the Jacobson Entrepreneurship Academy offered by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the University of Iowa.

A total of 27 students in grades 6 to 8 from Eastern Iowa and surrounding areas attended the Jacobson Entrepreneurship Academy June 20-24 in the John Pappajohn Business Building at the UI.

Working individually, the students developed business plans using BizTech, an online entrepreneurial learning program developed by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Throughout the week, campers heard from real entrepreneurs and UI entrepreneurship faculty about the practical aspects of starting a business. The students also made their own marketing materials--a logo, business card, and a flyer.

At the conclusion of the camp, students presented their business plans to two panels of UI faculty and local entrepreneurs. JPEC awarded students seed money for their business or for scholarships.

First place awards of $100 went to:

  • Elizabeth McCrory of West Branch, Iowa, for her business called Neat Freak. McCrory's business plan involved organizing kids' rooms and lockers for a $10 fee.
  • Charles Mollenhauer of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for his business called Chucklebuk Jewelry to make and sell hemp jewelry.

Second place awards of $75 went to:

  • Ivy Van Dusseldorp of Iowa City, Iowa, for her jewelry making business called Baubles & Beads.
  • Elizabeth Lin of Iowa City, Iowa, for a web hosting business called Web-Link Corp.

Third place awards of $50 went to:

  • John DeAngelis of Fairfield, Iowa, who created a business plan for VHS2DVD, converting VHS tapes to DVD.
  • Elizabeth Sikora of St. Louis, Mo., wrote a business plan for a jewelry business called Bracelets 4U.

The Richard O. Jacobson Foundation sponsored the camp. Richard (Dick) Jacobson is the founder and chairman of the board of Jacobson Companies, a leading national logistics and warehousing company based in Des Moines, Iowa. He serves on the Tippie College's Board of Visitors.

"The Jacobson Entrepreneurship Camp gave these business-oriented students a chance to learn about entrepreneurship at a young age. It's an opportunity to instill these skills at an early age, teaching them that business ownership can be a fulfilling career," said Dawn Bowlus, JPEC Student Activities and Outreach Coordinator.

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