NIACC’s 2024 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy Inspires Future Business Leaders

From June 3-7, the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center hosted the 2024 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy (YEA), a dynamic camp fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among North Iowa high school students. Sponsored by the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation, this free one-week academic camp welcomed 11 ambitious students and each were awarded a $500 NIACC scholarship.

Throughout the week, participants delved into creating business model canvases, networking with local entrepreneurs, and honing essential business skills. The program culminated on June 11, when students pitched their innovative ideas to a panel of judges, competing for $2,400 in cash prices.

This year’s winners were:

Top Prizes ($500 each):

Dessa Kiwacz (Mason City High School) and Reese Harrold (Mason City High School), AdVersa – $500 prize

Casey Schilling(Garner-Hayfield-Ventura High School), K2 Enterprises – $500 prize

Chase Sorsenson(Forest City High School), SubZero – $500 prize

Honorable Mentions:

Brisa Argueta-Trujillo(Mason City High School), Frosted Home Baked Goods – $250 prize

Fernanda Ramirez (West Fork High School), Ramirez Sister Renovations – $250 prize

Ian Carolus (Mason City High School), River City Retro – $100 prize

Isabella Garner (Newman Catholic High School), Jeweled Stitches Crochet & Jewelry – $100 prize

Moon Gay (Mason City Alternative School), The Kitty Corner – $100 prize

Brendan Walker (West Fork High School), Jacket Ink Games – $100 prize

Photo from left: Brisa Argueta-Trujillo, Fernanda Ramirez, Dessa Kiwacz, Reese Harrold, Bella Garner, Brendan Walker, Moon Gay, Chase Sorenson, Casey Schilling, Ian Carolus

The Youth Entrepreneurial Academy, directed by Kelley O’Rourke and facilitated by Ashley Page, featured guest speakers including local business leaders and NIACC staff, providing invaluable insights and inspiration. This enriching experience not only ignited students’ entrepreneurial ambitions but also equipped them with the skills to transform their ideas into reality.

NIACC’s 2024 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy Inspires Future Business Leaders
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