Handmade erasers, sugar lip scrubs, and origami creations were among the items for sale from participants in the University of Iowa’s summer youth entrepreneurship camp at the Iowa City farmer’s market on July 12.
The 39 middle school students came from around the Iowa City area and participated in the youth camp sponsored by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center’s Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship. The camps are held every year for budding elementary and middle school entrepreneurs, with campsites in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids/Marion, and Des Moines. The weeklong camps teach participants the entrepreneurial mindset and expose them to innovation, creativity, and problem-solving, showing how people address issues in their communities through business start-ups.
The campers create their own business and then use what they learn during the camp to decide what kind of product they want to sell. They then make the product and sell it at the camp.
In doing so, the students practice professionalism, critical thinking, and other hands-on skills that will help them start their own business later in life or will help them get a job.
Campers also tour local businesses and interview entrepreneurs during the week. Those in the Des Moines camp visited the Iowa Wild hockey team administrative offices at the Wells Fargo Center, and Iowa City and Cedar Rapids campers developed a flavor for Heyn’s Ice Cream, which is sold for a time in its Iowa City and North Liberty stores.