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UI Alumnus Wins Bowl Game Raffle Run by Entrepreneurship Class

Thanks to a winning raffle ticket purchased at an Iowa home football game this fall, University of Iowa alumnus Mike Walker and his family are traveling to Tampa Bay, Fla. to see the Iowa Hawkeyes play the University of Florida Gators in the Outback Bowl.

After last year's successful raffle of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, which raised more than $20,000 to refurbish Engine Co. 55 of the New York City Fire Department, Joe Sulentic and the students in his Entrepreneurship and New Business Formation class decided to focus on Iowa-based projects.

Over the past several months, students in Sulentic's class in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business have sold nearly 1,400 raffle tickets for an all-expenses paid trip to a Hawkeye bowl game, with the proceeds going to support student entrepreneurs housed in a new on-campus entrepreneurial learning laboratory opening in January.

Students sold tickets on campus, at home games and via the www.heroeswanted.net website for $10 each. Joe Sulentic remembers the day the winning ticket was sold at a home game in the "rally alley."

"Mike and Nancy Walker of Cedar Rapids knew about the project because their son, James, was a member of the class," he said. "They purchased one ticket and were planning to stop there, until Nancy encouraged Mike to buy a second ticket for a good cause. Wouldn't you know it, the second ticket turned out to be the winning ticket."

The Walkers will be traveling in style. Sulentic's class partnered with the UI Alumni Association to offer a package that includes free airfare for four, deluxe hotel accommodations, a generous food allowance, and limousine service to and from the game.

When asked what made this year's fundraiser successful, Sulentic said the students learned what it really takes to close a sale. A partnership with Carousel Motors created a mutually beneficial situation for both parties, he added.

"Because we were able to sell a large quantity of raffle tickets up front to Carousel, they could turn around and use these tickets to get their foot in the door with customers," Sulentic said. "Carousel gave out a free raffle ticket to anyone who came in and took a test drive, it gave the sales force an incentive to call customers who might be looking for a new car. It was a good partnership between a local business and the University, supporting an excellent cause."

The Entrepreneurship and New Business Formation class, which is designed to gain practical experience and skills in entrepreneurship, is part of the program of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the UI.


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