Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute

Experience the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute

At the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute, 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 they have a little bit of fun, too.

The Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute will take place August 11-16, 2024. Deadline to apply is March 21, 2024.

The institute is a joint 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, University of Northern Iowa, and the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation.

ISU Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute Students

Iowa State University OEI Class of 2022: Parker Jameson, Julio Delgadillo, Phillip Gorni, Jassma’ray Johnson, Micah Walker, Armaan Gupta, and Henry Shires

Up to eight budding entrepreneurs from each of the state universities, the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa, plus students from Buena Vista University, Iowa Lakes Community College, and Dordt College are invited to attend the Institute. Preference is given to students from northwest Iowa, southeast Minnesota, northeast Nebraska, and southeast South Dakota. Priority to students working on actual business ventures regardless of geographic home.

Residents of the Great Lakes area open their homes to host the 32 students during the week-long event, providing participants with a full quality-of-life experience in the region.

At the Institute you will:

  • Attend educational topics on entrepreneurship.
  • Network with northwest Iowa’s finest entrepreneurs and mentors.
  • Explore economic development opportunities in the region.
  • Experience the culture of the Lakes region and Okoboji hospitality first-hand.
  • Pitch a business idea to business coaches.
  • Earn one college credit for your participation (optional entrepreneurship credit).
  • Spend a weekend immersed in entrepreneurial learning, discussions, and experiences.
  • Develop a set of contacts that would make any entrepreneur envious.


  • Full-time registered Iowa State University undergraduate or graduate student.
  • Commitment to attend the entire Institute (Sunday through Friday).
  • Demonstrated interest or experience in entrepreneurship (have own business).
  • Complete online application.
  • Participate in a selection interview.

Participation in OEI is a competitive process. A limited number of students are selected each summer on an invitation/interview basis.