University of Northern Iowa

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Student Entrepreneurship Awards


The annual awards presented by the JPEC are highly sought by the student entrepreneurs in the program. For them, receiving one of these awards is validation that they understand entrepreneurial principles and that they can build successful businesses. 

JPEC College of Business Administration Student Entrepreneur of the Year

Gabe Groothuis, a Sales Management and Organizational Leadership double major, from Marion, Iowa, was recognized at the UNIBusiness Leadership Celebration on April 11, 2019 as the JPEC College of Business Administration Student Entrepreneur of the Year.  Gabe was UNI’s 2018 Elevator Pitch Competition winner and represented UNI at the National CEO conference in Kansas City this November advancing through to the second round before being eliminated.  Gabe also runs his business, Groothuis Solutions, out of the RJ McElroy Student Business Incubator program which is housed in the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. 

Gabe and Laurie

Groothuis Solutions provides Mock Trial Training Solutions to middle school and high school teams throughout Iowa.  This fall Gabe launched an online platform to further his reach and is now distributing educational media content to Mock Trial Teams throughout the nation.  Groothuis Solutions is passionate about providing excellence to all clients and this is reflected through their results.  Over 140 students working with the company were able to achieve their mock trial goals at regional, state and national levels.  This spring the national competition will be held in Athens, GA and a team utilizing Groothuis Solutions services will be representing Iowa.  For more information on Groothuis Solutions, go to:


R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator Business of the Year

Corey Behrens, a junior, of Mason City, Iowa, studying digital media production and the owner and operator of Simplistic Views, a photography and videography startup has been selected to receive the 2019 R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator Student Business of the Year award. Corey said regarding receiving this award, “I am very gracious and honored to receive this award and the mentoring that the staff at the UNI JPEC has provided me.” Corey and his business, Simplistic Views, have resided in UNI JPEC’s Student Business Incubator since the winter of 2017. Corey also recently found out that he advanced to the state level in the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition and will be competing in Des Moines at the end of April. There he will present his business plan and pitch to John Pappajohn and other experts from Equity Dynamics.

Corey Behrens

Simplistic Views has been capturing memories and creating visually appealing brand advertisements for companies since 2016. While based in Cedar Falls, Corey will travel all across Iowa to film for his clients. He is committed to creating aesthetically pleasing content for his customers. Corey has mainly worked with capturing weddings and has more recently added commercial marketing. Corey is looking to expand his business, and he is currently in the process of identifying different regions of the country to expand to after graduating from UNI December of 2019. To see some of Corey’s work and learn more about Simplistic Views, go to:


Previous Winners