BVU Business Students Participate in Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute

The Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute is an advanced study of entrepreneurship that includes entrepreneurial simulation, seminars with business and community leaders, and networking and mentoring to enhance understanding of entrepreneurship opportunities in Iowa.

Four Buena Vista University students participated in the annual Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute (OEI) Aug. 5-10 at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory on West Lake Okoboji.

The students who were selected for OEI are:

  • Austin Demers, a senior accounting and business double major from Bondurant
  • Brandon Glienke, a senior accounting and business double major from Aurelia
  • Maxwell Lee, a senior business major (with a concentration in entrepreneurship) from Denison
  • Austin Peterson, a business major (with concentrations in finance and banking and management) from Hartley who attends BVU’s Spencer location.
  • Alternate for OEI was Tyler Tennyson, a senior accounting and business double major from Truman, Minn.

"OEI provides an incredible opportunity for students to put their classroom knowledge into practice as they engage in a hands-on entrepreneurial simulation wherein they work with colleagues from across the state to create, pitch, operate, and fund a simulated business," says Lisa Kesting Best, interim dean of the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business. The institute is a joint effort of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation (Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, and Emmet counties), the State Board of Regents, the Iowa Department of Economic Development and the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and University of Northern Iowa.

"The fact that BVU is one of only five universities in the state that provide their students the opportunity to truly heighten their entrepreneurship skills is amazing."

Brandon Glienke

"This year BVU is especially excited to have the first student from our BVU sites join the team, as the students learn from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in our region,” says Kesting Best. The regional director of BVU Spencer, Kelli Larsen, says, “Austin is not only from this area, but he plans to stay in Northwest Iowa where he will be able to apply the knowledge gained from area entrepreneurs. BVU students are incredibly fortunate to be a part of this once in a lifetime, hands-on experience.”

The BVU students joined other young entrepreneurs from the Regents schools and Iowa Lakes Community College for the six-day academic experience, and students earned three academic credits upon completion. OEI is an advanced study of entrepreneurship that includes an entrepreneurial simulation, seminars with successful entrepreneurs and business and community leaders, and networking and mentoring to enhance their understanding of entrepreneurship opportunities in Iowa. During the week, the students stayed with host families and also participated in a community service project.

Throughout OEI, students worked in teams on a computer-based simulation and presented their business plans to community volunteer venture capitalists to acquire capital to fuel growth for the simulated companies.

“OEI was an amazing experience that pushed all of us to new heights,” says Glienke. “The successful business owners of the Iowa Great Lakes area were more than happy to share their experiences with us and answer any questions that we might have about starting our own expeditions into the business world. The fact that BVU is one of only five universities in the state that provide their students the opportunity to truly heighten their entrepreneurship skills is amazing. Being able to learn entrepreneurship outside of the classroom was a transformative experience.”

Demers added, “It was great to not only get to meet very successful entrepreneurs in the area, but meeting and networking with the other students that come from a variety of backgrounds was great as well. Although we were competing against each other in the simulation, we also built many friendships throughout the week.”

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