News & Events

Statewide Conference Brings Together Young Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurial students at the University of Iowa often come up with new business ideas, finding niches to fill, problems to solve, wrongs to right, and all the while making money. As one example, Anne Price is planning to open her own high-end shoe boutique with a specific niche for women with shoe sizes 11 and above.

"I have a hard time finding fashionable shoes that fit and I'm excited to turn a problem into a solution," said Price, a UI junior studying for her entrepreneurship certificate at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC).

Price has completed the majority of the classes needed to receive the certificate and is working on the final steps of her business plan. But before graduation, Price plans to attend the 2008 Collegiate Entrepreneurs Iowa Conference at the UI this week and is excited about networking with other entrepreneurial peers.

Students from the UI and surrounding colleges, as well as select high schools, will attend this year's Collegiate Entrepreneurs Iowa Conference from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Friday, April 4, in the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus. The conference will offer break-out sessions, keynote speakers and the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurship students.

Break-out sessions will be conducted by founders of local businesses and entrepreneurial experts, as well as former entrepreneurial student and Miss Iowa 2007 Diana Reed, and a high school entrepreneur. Topics include turning your passion into a business, art entrepreneurship, funding your startup and entrepreneurship in the classroom.

Amber Nienow, coordinator of marketing and events for the UI JPEC, said the best thing about the event is that students can network with other students and learn from each other's ideas.

"It's great because students have the opportunity to see how other entrepreneurial students have started from nothing and have built successful businesses, and have seen them keep growing into the future," says Nienow.

Keynote speakers will include Tom Cardella, former chairman and CEO of Precision Response Corporation and founder of Access Direct, who will discuss efficient management of client relationships; Tom Bedell, CEO and chairman of Pure Fishing, who will discuss his experiences re-creating his father's fishing business into a global company; and Jim Foster, inventor of the Arena Football League and founder of the Iowa Barnstormers, who will discuss how he created a professional sports league. Each of these experts will share their personal experiences and stories.

Current sponsors of the event include: the Iowa Department of Economic Development; Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization; Community Vitality Center; Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship; the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at The UI, University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, Iowa State University and North Iowa Area Community College; and the UI I-Envision Student Entrepreneurship Organization.

Lunch will be included at the event. Interested members of the public may register online at www.iowajpec.org/ceic by Wednesday, April 2, or call 319-335-1022 for more information.


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