BVU Students Selected for Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute

BVU Students Selected for Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute

Four Buena Vista University students have been selected to participate in the annual Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute (OEI) Aug. 3-8 at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory on West Lake Okoboji.

The selected students are:

  • Kirsten Van Zuiden, a senior management and marketing major from Carroll
  • Ashley Mendenhall, a senior management and accounting major from Salix
  • Pukar Pradhan, a senior business entrepreneurship major from Storm Lake
  • Thomas McFadden, a senior business entrepreneurship major from Alta

Alternate for OEI is Meghan Harmening, a senior business financial decision-making and accounting major from Marshall, Minnesota.

"The Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute is a unique experience that allows our students to take their classroom knowledge, skills and abilities and use them to solve current business challenges," says Dr. Joni Anderson, associate professor of management at BVU. "They receive support and guidance from successful business and community leaders, and the OEI experience enables them to build personal and professional networks to facilitate success for their individual goals."

The institute is a joint effort of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation (Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson and Emmet counties), the State Board of Regents, the Iowa Department of Economic Development and the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa. BVU President Fred Moore is a member of the Corridor board of directors.

The BVU students will join other young entrepreneurs from the Regents schools and Iowa Lakes Community College for the six-day academic experience, and students earn three academic credits upon completion. OEI is an advanced study of entrepreneurship that includes an entrepreneurial simulation, seminars with successful entrepreneurs and business and community leaders, and networking and mentoring to enhance their understanding of entrepreneurship opportunities in Iowa.

The students work in teams on a computer-based simulation and present their business plans to community volunteer venture capitalists to acquire capital to fuel growth for the simulated companies. During the week, they stay with host families and also participate in a community service project.