Christian Hookfin, from Spencer, Iowa, represented Iowa Lakes Community College at the exclusive Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute (OEI) at the Okoboji Bible Conference Campus held June 23 to 26, 2022.
Every summer, OEI brings students from Iowa Lakes Community College, Buena Vista University, Iowa State University, University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa to participate in a unique opportunity to explore entrepreneurship. Participants compete for monetary awards, receive coaching on their business venture, network with extraordinary business leaders and community members, and enjoy a taste of what the Lakes Region of Northwest Iowa offers.
At OEI, students participate in an advanced study of entrepreneurship that includes seminars with successful entrepreneurs, business, and community leaders; networking and mentoring to enhance their understanding of entrepreneurship opportunities in Iowa; and developing and pitching a business idea to investors to compete for cash prizes.
“This was a great experience that I highly recommend for anyone interested in participating and would do it again if I could,”said Hookfin, a student in the Sales and Marketing Management program at Iowa Lakes.
Denise Reimer, Professor of Sales and Marketing Management and Business Administration at Iowa Lakes, accompanied Hookfin. Reimer took advantage of the opportunity to participate at OEI by coaching students with their pitches on Friday and then watching the final presentations on Saturday night.
“I enjoyed watching the business pitches from all the college students participating and providing suggestions to build their ideas. Seeing the variety of entrepreneurial ideas the students developed was inspiring. Also, watching the students help each other develop their entrepreneurial ideas showing genuine teamwork was exciting to see. OEI is an excellent opportunity for students to apply classroom content to the real business world,” shared Reimer.
The Okoboji Entrepreneurial Insitute 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 the University of Northern Iowa, as well as the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation.