Some four-hundred college students from across the region who hope to be future small business owners are expected for this week’s Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Iowa Conference. Deb Bishop is director of the Drake University John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center which is hosting the event in Des Moines on Friday.
Bishop says there will be college students from across Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin as well as a new group this year — high schoolers from a rural entrepreneurial program in Iowa. She says these are some of the region’s top students who have shown the initiative and drive they’ll need to launch their own businesses someday.
Bishop says "They may just have an interest in entrepreneurism and decide to go to work for a large corporation, but many of them that’ll be attending have an interest in entrepreneurship and starting their own businesses and the creativity and the things that go along with it." She says the conference aims to provide these students with some of the tools they’ll need to jump-start their own efforts once they graduate — or even now from their dorm rooms.
There will be break-out sessions with speakers who are leaders in a host of industries and workshops on how to finance an entrepreneurial endeavor, how to develop a business plan and market your ideas. Speakers include: Terry Rich, CEO of Des Monies’ Blank Park Zoo; actress and Mason City native Tanna Frederick; Kyle Krause, president of the Kum & Go chain; and venture capitalist John Pappajohn. The sixth annual conference runs all day Friday at Drake’s Olmsted Center.