Four students from Iowa Lakes Community College will participate in this year’s Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute. This is the seventh year for the institute and sixth time Iowa Lakes students have participated in the August event.
Students include, Brooke Engstrom, Emmetsburg, a Sales and Marketing student who is getting a ‘minor’ in Graphic Design expecting to graduate in the spring of 2013. Also from Emmetsburg is Cory Schultes, an Associate in Arts student who transfers to the University of Northern Iowa this fall and will double major in Finance and Real Estate. Eric Hatland, Graettinger, is a Business Administration and Management major and will graduate from Iowa Lakes next year. And, Zeb Skow, Fairmont, Minn., is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree with an emphasis in Animal Science. He expects to graduate in the spring of 2013.
The conference will be in the Iowa Great Lakes August 5-10. Participants attend educational topics on entrepreneurship and work in teams to complete a computer simulation to start a company. Attendees also have a chance to network with some of northwest Iowa’s finest entrepreneurs as well as earn three college credits.
Engstrom was prompted to apply when she heard what others said about the experience.
“Thinking about it made me realize that an opportunity like this … won’t come along very often so I decided to jump on it,” Engstrom said. “I hope that I can gain experience on how to handle a business and what ways to make it more successful.”
Schultes has dreamed about owning his own business and expects to learn something from others.
“After learning about all of the very intelligent Iowa entrepreneurs that will be at OEI, I thought that there is not a better group of people that I could be learning from,” Schultes said. “This is an opportunity where I can gain very important knowledge while also having a very good time.”
Hatland says “the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in the business field” was a draw for him. He expects to gain “knowledge, friendships and an experience to remember.”
As a non-traditional aged student, Skow is looking forward to the institute.
“I build my own machinery and livestock equipment and this might give me a little insight on how to market my equipment,” Skow said. “When you build a prototype, you almost have to give away the first one because no one know its real worth until it is proven in the field.”
He hopes to “find out how to market future products I might develop and (how to) promote it or network with other people to get it into the marketplace.”
The Okoboji Institute is a cooperative effort of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa as well as the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, Iowa Lakeside Lab, Buena Vista University and Iowa Lakes Community College.