JPEC Student Business Owner GSEA Finalist 2008/2009

A University of Northern Iowa senior has been selected to compete for $100,000 in cash, prizes and services at the Global Finals for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) competition Nov. 5 and 6 in Chicago. Benjamin Frein, a finance and computer science major from Garner, is one of approximately 25 finalists selected through regional competitions.

The GSEA, sponsored by the Entrepreneurs' Organization and Mercedes-Benz Financial, recognizes the world's top undergraduate student entrepreneurs. To qualify, students must carry a full course load at a university while operating a business that has been generating revenue for at least six months.

Frein's primary company is E-Holdings, which specializes in Web site design and hosting and operates several e-commerce businesses including www.BellyBling.net and www.GreatMiniatures.com . Frein's company is housed at the UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center's (JPEC) Student Business Incubator.

Frein, who worked with JPEC at UNI to prepare for the competition, said the competition process is challenging and rewarding. As Frein competed in the GSEA Virtual Rounds, he was evaluated on overall presentation, the scalability of his business to reach $1 million in sales within the next year, his ability to overcome obstacles, overall impression and his responses to judges' questions. His status as a finalist in the global competition qualifies him for the highly selective Entrepreneurs' Organization Accelerator Program.

"It is exciting to have been selected to compete in Chicago against the best student entrepreneurs in the world," he said. "I'm also looking forward to joining the Entrepreneurs' Organization Accelerator Program, which will complement the assistance I'm already receiving as part of the UNI Student Business Incubator. That program will provide me with the knowledge, tools and mentors I need to grow my business to the next level."

Frein Named 2008/2009 GSEA Finalist -- Only Student in Iowa