Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute

The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is pleased to present sun, fun, and entrepreneurship in the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute. The 2014 Institute is August 3-8 at beautiful Lake Okoboji. This program is an intensive week of entrepreneurship, small business development, and venture management. Many prominent business leaders engage with students throughout the week.

Click this link for the 12-minute video of the 2013 Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute. A great way to find out all about OEI!

Eight UNI students will be selected to participate with eight students from both Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa and four students from both Buena Vista University and Iowa Lakes Community College. The UNI JPEC pays each UNI student's tuition for three credit hours, lodging, and food. Juniors and non-graduating seniors with interest will be given preference. Graduate students are not allowed. Seniors who will be graduating in May of 2014 are not eligible. Students may only attend the Institute once. An essay and interview are required for consideration to be selected. Click the link below for the application form and essay instructions. Applications are due March 3, 2014.

Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute Application in PDF

Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute Application in Word


Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute 2013
OEI 2013 UNI students were: Aaron Baughman, Levi Bostian, Brandon Honeyman, Johnale Jackson, Jake Kopriva, Ben McClurg, Dana Potter, and Jenna Rockweiler. Simulation winners were: Johnale Jackson and Jake Kopriva.   OEI 2013 Group with Governor Branstad





Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute 2012
Summer Kunkle and Emina Halidovic were the UNI winners of the OEI simulation. Other UNI students to attend OEI 2012 were: Corey Black, Sarah Mackey, Stephanie Dick, Brian Hoyer, Corey Pierce, and Ethan Thompson.   Summer Kunkle & Emina Halidovic




Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute 2011
Front Row: (l to r) Jeffrey Short, Therese Kuster, Angela Wagner. Middle Row: (l to r) Taylor Smothers, Mike Palsic, Alex Frazier. Back Row: (l to r) Christopher Thorsbakken, Thomas Gilbert UNI 2011 OEI Group




Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute 2010
(l to r) Matt Monaghan, Tony Patterson, Austin Wolff, Nick Cash, Andrew Steckel, Greg Jass, Gwen Huinker, and Zach Swalley UNI 2010 OEI Group
OEI Team Genus Computers works on their business as part of the simulation. Team members were: Zach Swalley (UNI), Akshali Gandhi (ISU), David Siegel (UIowa), and Joe Lappegard (ILCC). 2010 OEI Team Genus Computers
UNI's Tony Patterson and UIowa's Lauren Smith enjoy some water sports during Wednesday night's break from networking. OEI 2010 Tony Patterson




Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute 2009
(Front Row: l to r) Jason Myers, Collin Forst, Alejandro Mancilla, Megan Horn, Matt Adams, Andy Becker, Katherine Messerli, Rachel Ruplinger, and Laurie Watje (JPEC staff) UNI 2009 OEI Group




Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute 2008
(Front Row: l to r) Amy Coombs, Jenny Boxler, Ben Frein. (Back Row: l to r) Sam Parakkal, Mark Watje, Dan Miller, Rob Holsinger, Chris Harms UNI 2008 OEI Group
Rob Holsinger and his group work on the entrepreneurial simulations. The team is trying to maximize sales and revenue and keep production costs down. Rob Holsinger and team members work on simulation
The whole group of students attending the Institute pose for a group shot during one of the evening networking and speaking engagements. OEI 2008 Whole Group
Amy Coombs says thank you on behalf of the UNI students during the graduation ceremony from OEI. Amy Coombs speaking




Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute 2007
(l to r) Randy Pilkington (JPEC), Jacqui Gulick, Jessica Phalen, Laurie Watje (JPEC), Drew Kahler, Jordan Bathen, Joe Eibes, Emily Boyd, Eric Dietzenbach, Brian Azeltine, and Katherine Cota-Uyar (JPEC) OEI II Group
OEI students participate in the advanced study of entrepreneurship including an entrepreneurial simulation;seminars with successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and community leaders; and networking to enhance the students' understanding of opportunities in Iowa. Okoboji classroom
Drew Kahler's team was one of the winning teams in the simulation. The other winning team contained Joe Eibes. Drew's Team
The graduation ceremony from OEI is bittersweet. Students have experienced an intense week of entrepreneurial study and made many strong contacts in business. Okoboji awards




Below are photos and student quotes from the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute 2006. The photos are of the Okoboji students with Ted Waitt, founder of Gateway Computer, the entire group of Iowa students attending Okoboji, the UNI students who attended Okoboji, and various student teams.

I thought the program overall was simply amazing... I think I probably learned more in that one week than I could have learned in a year of actual business classes. I was truly inspired by this program and its objectives to search out and accomplish my own business aspirations. Ted Waitt with group
When I think about the Okoboji Institute I am humbled at the great quality of people it exposed me to. When I look back on my life it might be the most valuable educational experience I have received. The stuff I was exposed to was invaluable. Many of these lessons you hear throughout your life. But I think they become much more of a reality when you see someone who has put them into practice. Okoboji group 2006
Overall, I would have to say that the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute program was the most educational, beneficial and rewarding experience in my academic career to date. I received hands-on training through a program geared toward graduate students. 2006 UNI Okoboji group
It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; one I will not forget, that has inspired me more than anything over the past three years of my college experience. I, for the first time, felt like I was where I belonged in a school event. 2006 team
Overall, I have no complaints about the course and would recommend it to everyone. It was definitely worth all the time and even if the days were still as long as they were I would not rethink going no matter what. The entertainment was a blast and the entrepreneurs, hosts, and speakers made it the best experience I have ever had. The week left me with valuable lessons and learning tools that I will carry with me throughout life.

The class provided me with a sense of confidence that I can succeed in starting a business. The week made it clear that anything is possible even if everyone says it is not.

2006 team

I cannot say enough about how fortunate I feel to have been part of this program ... Throughout the week I heard different students say how they had learned more during the week than during college semesters or careers, however, I feel that I just learned a different side of business from this program. UNI has been teaching me the basics and the numbers of business while this week taught me about the opportunities available while showing me the benefits of how being in business for oneself can lead to remarkable results.

I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who questions it and have already been sharing my experiences with people almost every day since the course ended. The people involved honestly changed the way that I now envision my future in business and hopefully I can thank them one day by giving back to the state of Iowa in the same generous manner they each have done. It was an honor to be a part of the first Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute and I would jump at the chance to take part in the program next year if possible.

2006 okoboji classroom