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Too Many Good Ideas Surface at UI Business Camp

This year's Jacobson Entrepreneurship Academy just had too many good ideas.

Normally, six middle school students earn seed capital awards for presenting the best business plans at the conclusion of the academy, offered each year by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the University of Iowa. The award money is provided by JPEC.

But Dennis Schrag, one of the judges of this year's business plan competition and a lecturer in the Tippie MBA Program, thought six wasn't enough.

"He was so impressed with all of the great ideas that he put up $100 of his own money to award two additional prizes," said Dawn Bowlus, JPEC student activities and outreach coordinator. "The students really appreciated that vote of confidence he gave us."

A total of 30 students in grades 6 to 8 from Eastern Iowa and surrounding areas attended the Jacobson Entrepreneurship Academy July 17-21 in the John Pappajohn Business Building at the UI. 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:

--Jason Cardenas, West Liberty, for Blazin' Boards, a custom skateboard painting business.

--Tyler Hubler, Cedar Rapids, for Kabob World, a catering business specializing in kabobs.

Second place awards of $75 went to:

--Eric Streed, Iowa City, for Hawk Spot, a business selling water at Iowa Hawkeye athletic events.

--Liz Vest, North Liberty, for Jazzy Jewelry and Handbags, a jewelry and handbag design business.

Third Place awards of $50 went to:

--Brian Rodriguez, Cedar Rapids, for Maximum Performance Tae Kwan Do, a Tae Kwan Do training center.

--Zheng Che, Iowa City, for Instant Movie Delivery, a service delivering movie rentals and food.

--Cassondra Batz, Bettendorf, for Up & Coming Fashions, an online Web site for amateur fashion designers to post and sell their designs.

--Peter Doucette, Iowa City, Salvage Biz, a salvage removal company, and Outside of the Box, a business that picks up items that people don't want anymore for a fee and re-sells them on eBay.

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 Bowlus.


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