University of Northern Iowa

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

On January 8, The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) announced the 2021 winners of the Entrepreneurship Experiential Exercises (3E) Competition during the organization’s USASBE 2021: Be Boldly Unscripted annual conference.


The top three place finishers in this year’s 3E Competition are as follows:


First Place: “Two Pros and a Con” by Briana Stenard (Mercer University)

Second Place: “Connect the Dots: A Card Game for Teaching Cognitive Frameworks and Uncertainty and Opportunity Recognition” by Craig Armstrong (University of Alabama)

Third Place: “Improvisational Entrepreneurship and the Modern Libra...

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

UNI students competed for $2000 in awards at the Annual UNI Entrepreneurs Elevator Pitch Competition. The 2020 competition took place on Tuesday, November 3rd at the Business & Community Services Building. There were two different competitions that the entrepreneurs could compete in: Ideation and Revenue. Ideation are students with business ideas that are in the early stages of development and have yet to earn revenue. Students in the Revenue competition have existing businesses and are making money. Each student had just 90 seconds to explain their business ideas to a panel of judges.

Five students competed in the Ideation competition with Maddie Palmersheim taking home first...

Monday, October 19, 2020

Robert Sales is no stranger to the limelight at the University of Northern Iowa. The Communication major was a fixture at UNI Panther football and basketball games selling doughnuts from his year-round concession stand, Rob’s Mini Donuts and in the halls mentoring other entrepreneurial students in the UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (UNI JPEC). 

As a student entrepreneur, Sales has been recognized with several awards including the MAC Impact Student Business of the Year for 2020. But his greatest recognition to date occurred this fall. On Oct. 9, Sales won the regional Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Student Entrepreneur Award (GSEA), which includes competitors from a...

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Robert Sales arrived at UNI knowing he wanted to be an entrepreneur.

The Pella native’s business instincts had been apparent since he was a first-grader who won a contract mowing vacant lots in his neighborhood. At UNI, Sales focused on the food industry, launching a food truck business and then, with help from professors and mentors, narrowed his focus to selling mini doughnuts. 

Sales was a fixture this year at the UNI-DOME and McLeod Center, selling his trademark cinnamon-and-sugar doughnuts before social-distancing restrictions in the wake of a COVID-19 pandemic brought food sales to a halt. His Rob’s Mini Donuts operation has been named the MAC Impact Student...

Monday, March 30, 2020

Jacob Smith (Marketing Dec 2019 graduate) and Cole Wetzel (Quantitative Economics) of the University of Northern Iowa have been selected as one of the Top 25 Finalist teams for the Schultz Entrepreneurship Challenge as part of e-Fest 2020 which is a three-day celebration of undergraduate entrepreneurs which features workshops, networking and four separate competitions awarding a total of $250K in prize money.  Over 120 student submissions were submitted from over 65 colleges and universities across North America.  

Smith and Wetzel pitched their venture, PastimeU, which is a comprehensive mobile platform for students to view non-academic information and events happening on campus....

Monday, March 16, 2020

The University of Northern Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (UNI JPEC) has received a $100,000 gift from Eric and Kelli Schaefer. The donation will be used to support services offered to UNI student entrepreneurs to assist them in launching their new ventures.  

Eric Schaefer, a 1991 UNI graduate in Finance and International Business, co-founded RedCard in 2006 along with fellow UNI alums Joe DiMartini and Dru Schmitt. .  RedCard is a healthcare technology firm that provides communication management and electronic payment services in the healthcare sector. Prior to RedCard, Eric helped build Advanced Business Fulfillment, which was later acquired by WebMD.  Schaefer, a...

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

 Winner of the 2019 UNI Entrepreneurs Elevator Pitch Competition, Maddie Palmersheim, had the opportunity to attend the 2019 CEO (Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization) Global Conference and Pitch Competition. This conference was held in Tampa, Florida from October 31st to November 2nd.

Maddie and around 1,000 other collegiate entrepreneurs attended the three-day conference. The main event of the conference is a pitch competition with a grand prize of $2,000., 

Maddie perfected her pitch and headed to Tampa joined by fellow UNI student entrepreneur, Matt Zilley. When they first arrived, they connected with the Iowa State entrepreneurs chapter who had around 15 people with...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

​On October 29th, North Iowa Area Community College’s Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center held the 2019 NIACC Pappajohn Center Entrepreneur Gala which recognized outstanding entrepreneurs in the area. One of the entrepreneurs recognized was UNI student, Samantha Schupanitz. She received special recognition of Student Entrepreneur of the Year for her business, Sami’s Sock Monkeys.

Schupanitz started her company, Sami’s Sock Monkeys, during her senior year while attending Mason City High School. She has been making sock monkeys for most of her life and decided that she could turn her love for crafting sock monkeys into a business. She then continued with her company through her two yea...

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Maddie Palmersheim and Robert Sales, both UNI student entrepreneurs, attended this year’s Techstars Startup Weekend in Kansas City from September 20-22. The Techstars Startup Weekend is an immersive startup experience focused on hardware and product design that challenges teams to get feedback, make changes, and stay open to the idea of pivoting if a plan fails.

The two paired up with Kansas University Student, Bailey Batcheller, and worked as a team to create a brand new business idea. The idea that the team settled on was to create eye contact containers that were healthier for the environment.

The team worked hard for two days and then had the opportunity to pitch their...

Friday, October 18, 2019

Ten UNI students competed in the 2019 UNI Entrepreneurs Elevator Pitch Competition. The competition was held in the Business & Community Services Building on Tuesday, October 15th. The students were split into two different categories, founders or idea generators, for competition depending on what stage their business was in. Founders already have an existing start up business and currently have revenue from either selling a product or providing a service. Idea Generators are in the very early stages of their business and have yet to earn revenue.

Maddie Palmersheim, owner of Karmic Co., took home first place in the founders category. She was rewarded $250, and she will also h...