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Iowa Lakes students chosen for Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute

May 22, 2017

Four students from Iowa Lakes Community College will participate in this summer’s Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute (OEI). 

“I figured it would be a great life experience and (I could) learn some skills to use in the future,” said Derrick Feldhans of Spirit Lake, one of the students chosen. “I … get the chance to meet some really successful people and meet new people. Also, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”                            

The conference will be Aug. 6-11 at the Iowa Great Lakes. Participants attend educational seminars 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.

Students attending the conference include Feldhans, an accounting major; Spring Associate in Arts 2017 graduate Cierra McAllister of Emmetsburg; Robert Noyes, Estherville, accounting and business administration major; and Wes Schultes, Emmetsburg, who is seeking an Associate in Arts degree with an emphasis in accounting.

Group photo (from left to right): Wes Schultes, Robert Noyes, Cierra McAllister and Derrick Feldhans.Group photo (from left to right): Wes Schultes, Robert Noyes, Cierra McAllister and Derrick Feldhans.

McAllister wants to move back to this region after finishing her four-year degree.

“I saw the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute as a great way to create relationships and receive advice from those who were in my shoes at one point and have worked hard to become successful,” McAllister said. “At the same time, the OEI helps to build upon the education I have earned and positive characteristics I possess, making myself more valuable to the job market.”

She hopes to learn from the most successful business entrepreneurs in the Midwest and around the country, “…in addition to forming many valuable relationships with peers, business owners, and representatives who attend the OEI.”

Noyes specifically learned about the OEI from Accounting Specialist Professor Lecia Berven.

“From the videos we watched describing the event, to the information she gave us in class, it sounded like a really great opportunity to meet people who have been successful in the business world at the entrepreneurial level.”

After graduation, Noyes would like to open a CPA firm as well as an authentic Italian food restaurant.

“I am hoping that the institute allows me to gain the knowledge needed to put all the parts of running a business together. I feel this will give me a shot at being successful in the long run,” Noyes said.

Schultes expects the institute to enable him “to tap into the educational knowledge and business experience of those participating in the institute.”                                          

And, he wants to gain new professional skills.

“I also hope to make connections with people that will last throughout my career,” Schultes said.

The Okoboji Institute is a cooperative effort of the State Board of Regents, 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. Students from Iowa Lakes Community College, Buena Vista University, UNI, Iowa State and Iowa participate.

For More Information:

Lecia Berven, Accounting Specialist Professor, at 712-362-8399

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