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

Jessica Wise, a senior Marketing major and Entrepreneurship minor, from Avoca, Iowa, was nominated by the JPEC as the College of Business Administration
Student Entrepreneur of the Year for 2020. Jessica’s business White & Yellow T-shirt Co. is located in the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator which is a program of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. White and Yellow T-shirt Co. is an online company which aims to share the love of exploring the Midwest through tees and other products such as stickers and mugs. White & Yellow also donates a portion of their proceeds to nonprofits that aim to make our world a little happier. To view her products, you can visit: Jessica also participated in last summer’s Early Founders Program and attended the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute. She is actively involved with the American Marketing Association on campus and was the President this past year. As Jessica reflects on her time at the JPEC she says, “The JPEC has shaped me into a lifelong entrepreneur. The staff have taught me, guided me, and when needed (which was often), shown me a little tough love. They work tirelessly to provide resources and build programs that quickly build skills and mold the serial entrepreneur in each of us. The JPEC is a community of like-minded, extremely talented individuals who are always ready to bounce ideas and help one another, and I’m so happy to be apart of it. I cannot thank these people enough.”


MAC Impact Student Business of the Year

Robert Sales, a senior Communications major, from Pella, Iowa, was nominated to receive the 2020 MAC Impact Student Business of the Year award this spring for his business, Rob’s Mini Donuts which he operates out of the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator. Leveraging his eight years of experience working within the food industry at various restaurants and in dining services, Rob launched his food truck business in 2018. Throughout the spring and summer, Rob drove his food truck throughout Iowa delivering his trademark cinnamon-and-sugar donuts at fairs and community events. During the fall of 2019, Rob negotiated a contract to begin selling his donuts at a permanent concession stand located in the UNI-Dome and McLeod Center providing him the opportunity to sell during sporting events such as UNI football, volleyball, and basketball games as well as state-wide events. Rob intends to expand his business once he graduates in December of 2020.