News & Events

Corridor Gears Up for Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute

The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation is gearing up for its 8th annual Entrepreneurial Institute August 4-9 at Lakeside Lab on West Lake Okoboji. Kathy Evert, president and CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation tells KUOO news 32 students will once again be involved in this year’s program.

"The University of Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Iowa Lakes Community College, and Buena Vista University each select students. They get to compete with classmates, colleagues of theirs from their college or university, and they are selected by their college or university to participate in this weeklong institute. It's a lot of fun every week. We have a big welcome reception Sunday night August 4 at Tom and Molly Bedell's home and welcome the students to the area. We have guest speakers throughout the week, we have businesses that they visit and meet with, we have a venture capital fair on Wednesday, and they do a community service project each year now. Again they're going back to the Special Youth Challenge near Sioux Rapids working on equipment and buildings and things there at that camp for disabled youth. It's a fun, fun week. We invite people to participate in that welcome reception, the luncheon we have on Wednesday and then their graduation and send-off that we have Friday at the Pearson Lakes Art Center."

Since its inception, Evert says 240 students have participated in the Entrepreneurial Institute.

"You know, we have some students, well they're not students anymore, but some alums I guess that are working in the area that regularly come back to the area to keep in touch with people that they've met. Every year they tell us what a life-changing experience it's been, how many people they've met, the kinds of contacts they've made that would have taken them a lifetime to make otherwise. Kudos to all the host families, the sponsors, and the people that come out and spend time with the students during that week. It's really the best way to showcase this area by meeting the people and getting to know them."

Keynote speakers for this year’s institute include Spirit Lake natives Berkley and Tom Bedell; Michael Vasquez, cofounder, chairman of the board, and CEO of St. Gregory Centers, Inc., and founder of some industry-changing health care companies in the United States; and Manuel Villafana, chairman and CEO of Kips Bay Medical, Inc.

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