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NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Hosts the 14th Annual Youth Entrepreneurial Academy

High school juniors and seniors have a unique opportunity this summer to live on the North Iowa Area Community College campus for one week and learn first-hand what it’s like to create their own business ó and it’s at no cost.

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) will host the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy June 19-23, 2011. Generous financial support from the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation allows this academy to be offered for free to all participating students.

The objectives of the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy are to expose students to entrepreneurship, provide students with an opportunity to apply their skills and creativity, help students understand critical thinking skills and give students another career option of being a “job creator” instead of a “job taker.”

During the week, students live at the NIACC dorms, spend time visiting North Iowa businesses and work with leaders to develop a new business concept. Students do not have to have a business in mind when they come to the academy.

“All they need when they arrive is the desire to work with other students. This academy provides the tools for creative thinking and the opportunity for students to develop a new business idea,” said Tim Putnam, associate director of the JPEC.”

High school students who have a variety interests have attended the academy, including those interested in music, art, design and others. “It’s not just for students who think they will be a business major in college,” Putnam said. “It’s for anyone who has a passion that may eventually lead them to create their own business someday.”

Kevin Breister attended the academy during his junior and was a counselor for the academy during his senior year at Garner-Hayfield High School. Today, he is the owner of two small businesses. “This academy was a huge benefit to me,” he said. “The experience was amazing. I don’t think I would have created my businesses without that experience. Plus, they treat you like kings and queens when you are here!”

In addition to learning how to become an entrepreneur, another benefit was learning about the importance of networking, Breister said. “You would never think that a high school student would need to learn about networking, but meeting other students who are reaching for similar goals as you is a huge benefit. You never know who you will be working with later.”

Participants who complete the academy will receive an automatic $500 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy Scholarship if they choose to attend NIACC following their high school graduation.

Invitations to participate in the program have been sent to all North Iowa area high school guidance counselors, who are asked to share it with juniors and seniors. Applicants are asked to complete an application packet including recommendations by teachers, counselors and parents followed by a student essay and interview with JPEC staff.

For more information, please contact Tim Putnam at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at 641-422-4192 or |

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