University of Northern Iowa

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UNI Entrepreneurs Club Attends CEO in Tampa, Florida

Posted on Monday, November 8th, 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 were only able to fund my attendance and the vice president of UNI-E. When I found out that the conference was in Tampa again, I felt determined to bring a large group of students."

Palmersheim along with members from UNI-E, Aleah Vaske (President), Zach Hull, Jacob Kurt, and Samantha Carpenter spent one month doing intense fundraising throughout the community to raise enough money to attend. Reaching out to a variety of local businesses, entrepreneurs, and alumni for sponsorships, the club managed to raise nearly $5,000 within four weeks. In combination with organization by the university, the club covered the entire trip for seven students. 

Upon arrival, participants were welcomed with an evening reception event that consisted of food, drinks, and networking. On Friday and Saturday, attendees participated in a variety of keynotes and workshops hosted by leaders in entrepreneurship. Some of the best-known speakers at the event included the founder of HydroFlask, the founder of Red Box, and the editor and chief of Entrepreneurship magazine. The pitch competition took place on Friday and Saturday where the top 20 businesses out of 100 applicants competed in two-rounds. Savannah Warren, founder of Sav's Syrups represented UNI and competed Friday afternoon. 

Evenings in Tampa were spent at networking events or in team bonding activities around the city of Tampa. On Friday evening, the group visited the University of Tampa's entrepreneurship center. CEO wrapped up on Saturday afternoon and the group closed out the trip with a trolley ride through the city and exploration of local cuisine. UNI-E club member, Dylan Kurt, reflects on the experience, "The opportunity to be in an environment where motivated entrepreneurs can network, brainstorm, and collaborate was incredibly beneficial." 

Zach Hull (senior) was also among club attendees. Hull has been involved within UNI-E for the majority of his college career and currently takes an office space at the JPEC for his sports card business, "I am very grateful for all of the new people I met and the connected that grew. CEO truly was one of the most beneficial weekends of my college career."

Other attendees included Aleah Vaske (senior), Samantha Carpetner (senior), Savannah Warren (junior), Payton Shull (junior), and Jacob Kurt (sophomore).