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JPEC Hosts High School Entrepreneurship Day April 19

On April 19, about 40 Eastern Iowa high school students will get a look at entrepreneurship through the eyes of a group of young business owners at the University of Iowa's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC).

Entrepreneurship Day, co-sponsored by JPEC, the UI Office of Corporate Partnerships, and the Iowa Workplace Learning Connection will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at two JPEC locations, the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory (BELL), 322 N. Clinton St. in Iowa City, and the Pappajohn Business Building at Clinton and Market streets.

The high school students from the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area will hear presentations from young entrepreneurs who have started their business while at the UI or in high school and talk with them about what entrepreneurship is all about. They will also learn about entrepreneurship studies at the UI.

"We wanted to create a networking opportunity for high school students where they can see people close to their own age who have started their own businesses," said Dawn Bowlus, JPEC student activities and outreach coordinator. "This one-day conference is about inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit in young people in our area." The participating students have taken career exploration classes, participated in a job-shadowing program, or taken marketing classes.

The event includes keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and a panel featuring leading young entrepreneurs. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to tour the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory, BELL, a former fraternity house where UI students can have free office space to launch business ventures while studying entrepreneurship.

Some of the speakers include:

  • Megan Wettach, a junior at the UI, who started Premier Prom and Bridal Boutique when she was a senior at Mount Pleasant High School and developed the Megan Amanda Collection, a line of interview suits for pageant participants. She will give a presentation on "Dressing for Success" and "Going After a Niche Market"
  • UI alumnus and JPEC instructor Joe Sulentic will speak about the import/export business. As a college student, Joe realized that there was a good profit to be made through imported European sports cars
  • Ben Anderson, a UI alumnus, who started X-Wires Communications, a wireless Internet business in Iowa City, while being a full time student
  • Chris Gensicke started his graphic design company Pixel Productions while in high school. He attended JPEC's BizCamp in 2003. Currently a first-year student at UI, Chris continues to operate his business
  • Brad Phillips, a graduate of the BELL, produces videos highlighting the motocross industry. Brad's first video, Carpe Diem, has recently been nominated for an Xtremey Award, a national sports video award
  • Zach Voss, a UI alumnus who founded Voss Distributing, has exclusive distribution rights for Red Bull energy drink in the state of Iowa.
For more information on Entrepreneur Day, contact Dawn Bowlus at 319-335-0985.


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