News & Events

Young Entrepreneurs Attend University of Iowa Business Camp

Thirty-two Iowa middle school students recently learned how to run their own business at a camp sponsored by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the University of Iowa.

The students in grades six through eight attended the Jacobsen Entrepreneurship Camp June 27 to July 1 at the John Pappajohn Business Building at the UI. Camp participants learned about entrepreneurship during the day, enjoyed organized activities each evening and stayed overnight at the Currier Residence Hall.

Working in teams or individually, the students developed business plans using BizTech, an online entrepreneurial learning program developed by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Throughout the week, campers heard from real entrepreneurs and UI entrepreneurship faculty about the practical aspects of starting a business. The students also made their own marketing materials--a logo, business cards, and a flyer.

This was the first year for the middle school camp sponsored by the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation. Richard (Dick) Jacobson is the founder and chairman of the board of Jacobson Companies, a leading national logistics and warehousing company based in Des Moines, Iowa.

"The Jacobson Entrepreneurship Camp gave these business-oriented students from across the state a chance to learn about entrepreneurship at a early age. It's an opportunity to instill these skills at an early age, teaching them that business ownership can be a fulfilling career," said Dawn Bowlus, JPEC Student Activities and Outreach Coordinator.

At the conclusion of the camp, students presented their business plans to two panels of UI faculty and local business owners. JPEC awarded students seed money for their business or for scholarships.

First place awards of $100 went to:

-Abdullah Awad, 13, a student at Northwest Junior High of Iowa City. His business, Magic Show, presents customized magic shows for audiences of all ages.

-Laurie Tiffin, 14, of Moorhead, Iowa, a student at West Harrison Community Schools in Mondamin. Her business plan was for S.O.S. Fashion, which would make and sell jewelry and tie-dye t-shirts.

Second place awards of $75 went to:

-The team of Jaden Lane, 12, R. Chance Dubuque, 13, and John DeAngelis, 13, all of Fairfield. They have started a business called Selling 4 You, selling customers' electronics and other items on eBay for 20 percent profit. DeAngelis attends the Maharishi School, while Dubuque and Lane are in home school programs.

-Rachel Pool, 13, a student at Logan Middle School in Waterloo. Her plan was for an animal photography business called Paws and Claws.

Third place awards of $50 went to:

-Alex Potter, 13, of Iowa City wrote a business plan for Double Overtime, selling candy and drinks before and after Iowa football games. He is a student at Northwest Junior High.

-William Gaub, 12, a student at Grinnell Middle School, for his plan for Willy's Dog Walking Service.

Camp participants included:

AMES: Benjamin Nadler, 13, a student at Ames Middle School, who co-wrote a business plan for Sick and Twisted T-shirts, which would manufacture and sell humorous, novelty t-shirts.

CEDAR FALLS: Connor Brooks, 12, and Michael Targoff, 11, are students at Hansen School. Their plan was for the C. and M. Elderly Living Community, which would provide homes as well as additional services for the elderly.

CEDAR RAPIDS: Lillian McBride, 12, a student at Franklin Middle School, wrote a plan for Super Sitters, a baby-sitting brokerage to match up parents with qualified sitters.

CRESTON: Kierra Smith, 11, attends Burton R. Jones Middle School, and wrote a business plan for a kennel called Purrs & Gurrs Animal Center.

FAIRFIELD Kayla French, 12, is home schooled; she presented a plan for a photography business specializing in weddings or parties.

Lily Runyan, 13, is home schooled; she wrote a plan for a horse care and grooming business.

GRINNELL: Alex Wilch, 12, who attends Grinnell Middle School. His business plan involved selling his "Re-co throw" invention, a sponge football that holds a remote control.

GRUNDY CENTER: Dustin Smith, 13, a student at Grundy Center Middle School, presented a plan for Shattered Visions, a professional graphic and web design business.

IOWA CITY Alex Armstrong, 14, who attends Southeast Junior High and Danan Delsing, 12, who attends Robert Lucas Elementary. Their plan was for Gamenet, an online forum for the Internet gaming community.

Peter Doucette, 12, attends Regina; his plan was for Software World, which does software development for computer games.

Charles Ni, 13, who attends Northwest Junior High, developed a plan for Computer Services, Inc., a computer repair company.

Malinda O'Malley, 13, attends Southeast Junior High. She came up with a plan for Re-Des, putting designs on digital cameras and cell phones to make them more appealing to younger customers.

John Zhang, 12, is a student at Horn Elementary. His business plan was for a computer repair and sales business.

MARION: Mike Peiffer, 14, attends Excelsior Middle School. He did a business plan for Mike's Mark Photography, using photos to create greeting cards.

MUSCATINE: Amber Job and Rachel Price both attend West Middle School. They created a plan for Girls with Glass, which would make and sell glass art figurines with reinforced wire cores for added durability.

NEW SHARON: Marissa Hols, 12, attends North Mahaska Elementary. A statewide winner in the Invent Iowa program, Hols invented the Hospital Helper, a device that could be used by healthcare workers to make blood collection easier.

OAKLAND: Mark Hamilton, 12, a student at Riverside Middle School, wrote a plan for a business called Powdered Water Designs to do personalized computer configuration.

SOLON Shawn Carlson, 13, attends Solon Middle School. His business plan was for professional graphic and web design firm called Shattered Visions.

Michael Parysz, 13, attends Solon Middle School. He co-wrote a business plan for Sick and Twisted T-shirts, which would manufacture and sell humorous, novelty t-shirts.

TREYNOR: Alex Kovach, 11, attends Riverside Middle School. He developed a business plan for Kickin' Wings, a restaurant to sell chicken wings.

WEST BRANCH: Elizabeth Fuller, 13, a student at West Branch Middle School, had a business plan for Libby's Party Throwers, which would host customized parties for children.


Return to top of page