Sixty-seven Kuemper Catholic, Carroll and Glidden-Ralston High School Students enrolled in Des Moines Area Community College Carroll Campus’ (DMACC) Internship course participated in an entrepreneurship seminar Friday afternoon. Innovate U, which is sponsored by the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and Availa Bank, is a two-hour challenge that tasks groups of students to come up with an idea or product and develop a business plan for it. SBDC Regional Director, Kimberly Tiefenthaler, says Innovate U was created to show future generations the ins and outs of starting their own business.
Groups were paired with a local business mentor who helped guide them during the challenge. Once their two hours were up, the students had to present their idea and plan to a panel of judges from the community. Carroll Farm Bureau Financial Services Agent, Jeff Dentlinger, says the skills showcased to these students during Innovate U will be invaluable in their future careers.
Teams were graded based on a variety of factors, including how innovative their ideas were, the soundness of their business plan and more. Joshua Tigges, a senior from Kuemper, says he was fortunate to participate in Innovate U.
According to Tiefenthaler, Iowa is one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial states in the nation behind only a few places such as Silicon Valley. Small businesses play a key role in local, state and national economies. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says companies that employ fewer than 500 people have created 62 percent of new private sector jobs since 2008.