University of Northern Iowa

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Friday, December 10, 2021

The 2021 Winter Early Founder's Program will begin on December 27. This is a 4-week program that allows students to validate, test, and grow their business concepts with the help of their peers and mentors. The program closes on Sunday, January 23 with a final workshop where students will share their business discoveries and progress in a formal presentation. 

Developing the Winter EFP is Program Assistant, Maddie Palmersheim, who reflects on the student opportunity, "Above all, the Winter EFP is a great way for students to stay connected to their peers and to their businesses. Much of the momentum from the fall wears off around this time of the year, and it is important that we g...

Monday, November 08, 2021

Early in the morning on October 28, a group of nine representatives from the UNI entrepreneurs club (UNI-E) headed to Tampa, Florida to attend the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Global Conference. This is an annual event that brings together students and key members from a variety of national and international institutes for a three-day event. The location of the conference varies every year and this was the first year that UNI took a large group to attend the Florida event. UNI-E co-advisor, Maddie Palmersheim, reflects, 

"I attended this conference twice in the past as a student, one of which was in Tampa in 2019. Due to the cost of travel and the conference ticket, we we...

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

On Tuesday, October 19, the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center hosted the annual pitch competition for student ventures at the University of Northern Iowa. Among participants was Savannah Warren (sophomore) with her company, Sav's Syrups. 

Sav's Syrups is a sustainable coffee sauce and syrup company that focuses on creating game-changing flavors for coffee shops. After working for two years within the industry, Warren identified a major problem for local shops. With over 400,000 coffee shops and only two major coffee syrup companies, Warren saw that shops were looking for a way to differentiate among their competition. Using a small investment at the beginning of 2021, Sav's Sy...

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

After a year break due to Covid-19, the Obokoji Entrepreneurial Institute (OEI) was back for the week-long event. Bringing together over 30 students from five institutes - University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Iowa Lakes Community College, and Buena Vista University, participants were immersed into an intense entrepreneurship program that is unmatched by any other in the state.

Upon arrival, students are split up into teams for a startup simulator that mimics realistic challenges in beginning a new business. Despite the fictitious nature of the simulation, the intensity of competition among students in their drive to succeed is high. In addition t...

Thursday, August 05, 2021

The Summer 2021 Early Founder’s Program wrapped up their third summer cohort. Consisting of eight student teams, the program ran through the months of June and July in a virtual setting. The EFP was led by former JPEC tenant and program assistant, Maddie Palmersheim,“The Early Founder’s Program is an opportunity for student ventures to take a deep dive into their business. Whether they are validating a concept, testing their model, or growing their venture, the program connects them to a variety of opportunities and mentors to get them to their next level.” 

A core part of the program consisted of weekly meetings and monthly workshops hosted by Keevin O’Rourke. O’Rourke has develo...

Sunday, April 25, 2021

On Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23, 2021, Maddie Palmersheim (senior) and Grace Hartnett (senior) represented UNI at e-FEST hosted by the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. e-FEST was an online competition that consisted of a pitch competition and the Schulze Innovation Challenge that awarded participants with over $215k in prize money.

The first round of the competition started in February where nearly 100 student businesses submitted applications. Judges chose the top 25 teams based on market opportunity, business model advantages, product/service overview, marketing and sales, revenue landscape, current status, and quality of the submission. Palmersheim and Hartnett beg...

Sunday, April 18, 2021

On Thursday, April 15 the College of Business Administration held their annual Leadership Awards Ceremony. At the event, the UNI JPEC awarded two graduating student entrepreneurs who have excelled at our center.

Maddie Palmersheim received the Entrepreneur of Year award. During her time at UNI, Palmersheim worked on a variety of business ideas and projects. This past year she developed a concept called Virgo that aims to connect freelancers with businesses in need of their services. Inspired to resolve problems associated with “gig-economy,” Palmersheim aimed to focus on local connections and make strategic changes to current solutions that aim to build up the freelancers, the bus...

Sunday, April 18, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, April 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of aspiring entrepreneurs from University of Northern Iowa will be among 25 teams vying for $215,000 this week at a national competition looking for the next big idea.


Virgo is competing this week at e-Fest, a virtual event being hosted by the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. 

Sponsored by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, and, a non-profit online platform for entrepreneurship education, e-Fest celebrates student teams who submitted the top business pitches in a preliminary online competition. At e-Fest, student teams c...

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 By Andrew Creasey

A new start-up by a University of Northern Iowa senior is rethinking the gig economy, a fast-growing sector that now involves about one-third of U.S. workers.

Digital marketing major Maddie Palmersheim’s company Virgo wants to flip the script for freelance workers in this new sector, which offers workers a new kind of freedom but also raises serious concerns about labor exploitation and underwhelming wages. [UNI student Maddie Palmersheim]

Her efforts are already attracting attention. Virgo was named one of 25 finalists of the Schultz Entrepreneurship Challenge at e-fest 2021, a student entrepreneur contest that included s...

Friday, February 26, 2021

A.J. Reding, Nathan Anderson, Xavier Washington, and Imani Reed met when participating in the SHIPHT Entrepreneurial Discovery Series at the University of Northern Iowa. Now known as the executive team for YOU & I Care, their mission was to create a project that would help the community. Wanting to make mental health help more accessible and cheaper, they came up with a unique idea that asks people to simply listen.

"We're allowing a space for people to be heard, to be expressed, and a positive environment for people to walk through challenges," said Reding. He serves as the co-operating officer for YOU & I Care.

The group decided to pitch their idea to counseling...