It has been said many times and in many different situations, “youth are our future.” Here at the University of Northern Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center
we believe very strongly in this statement. Youth are what drives us to be the best we can be, they motivate us to better ourselves, and be open to each new idea that walks through our doors. The role of our staff here at the UNI JPEC is to educate students on best business practices giving them a foundation on what it takes to start their own businesses and run them successfully. We are by no means experts in every area, but we have a diverse staff that cares and brings years of experience to every student interaction.
Here are a few of the many ways that students at UNI can learn more about being an entrepreneur. The UNI Entrepreneurs student organization gives students a basic understanding of what an entrepreneur is and how that can lead to career opportunities. Our student organization gives students real world opportunities to interact with local business owners and gather feedback from other students on ideas or concepts they may have for a future business. The UNI Entrepreneurs student organization is a member of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization.
The UNI JPEC team offers students opportunities to attend introductory workshops, networking opportunities, elevator pitch competitions, and individual coaching experiences. We host a variety of workshops each semester, topics include starting a business, financial and managerial accounting, web and small business marketing, and basic app development. Throughout the academic year we host networking event that we encourage students to attend. In the fall semester we offer an elevator pitch workshop and competition that is affiliated nationally with Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization. The JPEC team has partnered with the local community Main Street to provide entrepreneurial camps for elementary and middle school students. We give back to the community through partnerships with Junior Achievement. The R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator is where the coaching and business development of college students businesses takes place. We have nine office spaces available for college students who have a proven business model.
When a student has a business idea we meet with the student and figure out how best to guide that student. Our program is completely student driven. They have to be the force behind the idea. If we can help a student start a new business, learn a new skill, or just better themselves, we have succeeded in our mission.
Bart Schmitz, Program Associate, UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center