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Local Students Learn about Business at Youth Entrepreneur Camp

Forty-one local elementary students learned what it's really like to start a business at the Youth Entrepreneur Camp hosted by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at The University of Iowa.

From July 8-12, students in grades 4-6 from Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty and Cedar Rapids learned about entrepreneurship through classroom and practical experience. They identified the basic skills required of entrepreneurs, learned how to market a product or service, determined profit potential for a new venture, and ended the week with a plan to start their own business

"This is a great opportunity for kids to come and explore entrepreneurship and see the possibilities for themselves at a young age," said Dawn Bowlus, JPEC Youth Entrepreneurship Coordinator.

Highlights from the camp included a visit from award-winning ice cream creator Paul Heyn, who spoke about his own experience as an entrepreneur and helped the kids create and name their own original flavor of ice cream-- banana mudslide. The students also met several entrepreneurs at Torus Technologies and the UI's Technology Innovation Center.

The students were divided into different teams that developed a business plan throughout the week, and most of the teams plan to make their business a reality.

Haley Broadie, Rachel Duncan, Ashwath Gunesekar, and Nicholas Meyer came up with a business named "Patriotic People" that will sell handmade flags, t-shirts, pins, and pens that support any country, state, or sports team.

Duncan said that their group got the idea for the business because each of the members could contribute something. "I make little flags, Haley knows how to make pins, and Ashwath and Nick can make t-shirts," she said. "It might be hard to get everyone together to make things, but I think it will work out."

Gunesekar, as well as several other students, already started his own business before camp. He custom designs t-shirts and creates personal compact discs. "I've already hired three people to work for me," he said. "I've even been able to pay them."

"You really want to become an entrepreneur after you do this camp," Duncan said. "My mom's worried that I'm not going to go to college, but I'm still going just in case my business doesn't work out."

For more information about youth entrepreneurship programs at The University of Iowa, contact Dawn Bowlus at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at (319) 335-0985 or email dawn-bowlus@uiowa.edu.


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