Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute

Experience the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute August 8-12, 2021

At the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute, students participate in an advanced study of entrepreneurship that includes an entrepreneurial simulation; seminars with successful entrepreneurs, business, and community leaders; networking and mentoring to enhance their understanding of entrepreneurship opportunities in Iowa; and a little bit of fun, too.

The college credit 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.

2019 Iowa State Class (Left to Right) Jenny Tan, Cameron Lynch, Anthony Swindell, Annie Seimis, Geert Boelen, Logan Borchardt, Delaney Quance, Ahmed Ismail, Marrisa Sankey

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 will work in teams on a computer-based simulation that incorporates the creation and operation of a new business and a fundraising round where teams have to present their plans to community venture capitalists to acquire capital to fuel growth for their simulated businesses.

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

At the Institute you will:

  • Attend educational topics on entrepreneurship.
  • Work in teams to complete a computer simulation to start a company.
  • 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 your business to investors to compete for the top monetary prize.
  • Earn 3 college credits for your participation (optional entrepreneurship credit).
  • Spend a week 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 student.
  • Commitment to attend the entire Institute (Sunday through Thursday).
  • Demonstrated interest or experience in entrepreneurship (have own business, Entrepreneurial Studies minor, other practical experiences).
  • Complete online application.
  • Participate in a selection interview.
  • Participation in OEI is a competitive process.  Only eight students are selected each summer on an invitation/interview basis.

Deadline: March 15, 2021, at midnight!