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UI Student Entrepreneurs To Share Experiences

Starting a business as a student can be an exciting and rewarding venture, but not without some challenges along the way. Student entrepreneurs not only have to run their business, but also keep up with their studies.

Four student entrepreneurs will speak about some of these experiences Friday, Nov. 18 as part of the Sandage Speaker Series sponsored by the University of Iowa's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. The presentation is from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory, 322 North Clinton St., in Iowa City.

Student speakers include: Megan Wettach, Premier Prom & Bridal Boutique and The Megan Amanda Collection; Brad Phillips, Premis Industries and Campus Access Magazine; and Ben Anderson and Carl Hirschman, X-Wires.

Wettach started Premier Prom and Bridal when she was 17. As a former pageant contestant, she recognized the need for suitable prom and pageantry attire in Iowa and the Midwest. In October 2001, she opened the store and within the first three years, sales at Iowa's only pageant boutique quadrupled. In 2003, Wettach won a $5,000 seed capital grant in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition. She has since started her own collection of pageant, prom, and special occasion wear, The Megan Amanda Collection, which can be found in department stores nationwide, including Nordstrom. At the UI, she is working towards earning a bachelor of arts degree in liberal studies and a certificate in entrepreneurship.

Phillips started Premis Industries in November 2003. The business produces a series of films that capture the excitement of the motocross circuit and the personalities of the professional racers. In late 2004, his first film, "Carpe Diem," was released selling 4,000 copies in the first month. The company has since released "Tips and Tricks", and "Carpe Diem 2". In May 2005, Phillips won two runner-up awards at a national competition. Always the entrepreneur, Phillips recently started Campus Access, a student lifestyle magazine. Phillips is studying business at the UI with plans to graduate in spring 2006.

X-Wires Communications is an Iowa City-based Internet service provider specializing in wireless Internet, digital subscriber line (DSL) service, web design, information technology, consulting and computer repair. X-Wires provides basic wireless Internet to the Iowa City and Coralville area and DSL service to 14 cities. The company was started in March of 2002 by a group of seven UI students and has since reorganized into its current ownership.

Anderson was one of the original founders of X-Wires and currently serves as the company's president. He graduated from the UI in December 2003 with a bachelor of liberal arts degree in economics and a certificate in entrepreneurship. Hirschman joined X-Wires in January 2004 and is co-owner and vice president. He graduated from the UI in May 2004 with a bachelor of arts in economics and certificate in entrepreneurship.

Seating is limited. To RSVP, contact Amber Nienow at amber-nienow@uiowa.edu, or call 319-335-0959, by Nov. 16.


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