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Engineering Announces 2008 Storer Entrepreneurial Award Winner

The University of Iowa College of Engineering has announced that a student-run business -- Entrepreneurial Connections -- is the winner of the 2008 Hubert E. Storer Engineering Student Entrepreneurial Start-up Award.

The annual award, established in 2002 and funded by an endowed gift from College of Engineering alumnus Hubert E. Storer, provides $10,000 of initial financial support for a College of Engineering student technological business plan.

In addition to winning the Storer Award, Entrepreneurial Connections recently received a $1,000 runner-up award in the 2008 Volding Business Plan Competition held by the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

According to company founders: "Entrepreneurial Connections is being founded to create a Web-based service to connect entrepreneurs for job shadowing and mentoring opportunities in the interest of education and professional networking. One of the goals of the company is to create a resource that will spread a profound spirit to help the formation and growth of small businesses, but also to allow younger individuals to make professional connections and obtain knowledge in many industries. This will hopefully help them to find and pursue their true passions in life, even if they never start their own company.

"The service will additionally offer great benefits to business owners, large companies, and retired entrepreneurs, as it will provide a forum where these people have access to ambitious, entrepreneurial-minded individuals so they may share their knowledge and insights for the purpose of education. Job shadowing experiences may also serve as a more extensive, informal interview for recruiting exceptional employees, which could greatly benefit businesses. Further, community members will be able to visit the Web site so they may see who is actively giving back to their community. This could very well create a new trend for educating ambitious students."

The four UI undergraduate student/entrepreneurs and their respective titles are:

  • Jim Guarino of Mount Prospect, Ill., a senior majoring in civil engineering, president
  • Ephraim Ben-Abraham of Normal, Ill., a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, vice president and director of research and development
  • Danny Lee of Des Moines, Iowa, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, Web design manager
  • Ameet Gohil of Niles, Ill., a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering and physics, database development manager

The Storer Awards are named for Hubert E. Storer, president, owner and founder of Storer Equipment Company of Shreveport, La., who earned his Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from the UI College of Engineering in 1959.

The awards complement the UI Technological Entrepreneurship Certificate, earned in conjunction with an engineering degree and established in 1996 by the College of Engineering and the Henry B. Tippie College of Business. The first of its kind at any U.S. engineering college, the nationally recognized program enables students to study the entrepreneurial process as it relates to technology.


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