Four students from Iowa Lakes Community College will participate in this year's Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute. This is the eighth year for the institute and the seventh time students from Iowa Lakes have participated in the August event.
Students include: Chayton VanMaasdam of Spirit Lake, a Business Administration major who expects to graduate in the spring of 2013. Also expecting to graduate in the spring of 2013 with a major in Business Administration and Management is Nate Samp from Algona. Melissa Pope-Thongvanh from Spanaway, Wash. is looking to graduate in December of 2013 from the Spencer campus with a Business Management Degree. Alyssa Schroeder from Emmetsburg, who is an Accounting Specialist major, is looking forward to graduating in May of 2014.
The conference will be held at the Iowa Great Lakes from August 4th -9th. 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.
Both Schroeder and VanMaasdam said that is was one of their professors, Lecia Berven, who helped motivate them to apply for the Institute.
"I decided to apply for the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute because I wanted to gain the experience," said Schroeder. "Lecia told us that it was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, make great contacts, and to learn about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in today's economy."
Schroeder hopes to gain the knowledge it takes to enter the job world as a young entrepreneur.
While VanMaasdam added, "A class presentation and video presentation by Lecia and my overall interest in entrepreneurship prompted me to sign up for the institute."
As a non-traditional aged student, Pope-Thongvanh is looking forward to the possibility of gaining new knowledge at the institute.
"I want to learn how to open my own business, and I plan on doing just that after I get my Master's degree," she said.
Samp expects to gain "new relationships, prospective business partners, and experience," while attending this year.
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.