Students learn to 'Be Your Own Boss'

Saturday, April 28, 2012
John Slump graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007. While still in college, he and Jared Garfield co-founded Corvida Medical after learning that healthcare workers treating cancer patients like Slump's sister were routinely exposed to hazardous chemicals, such as chemo, that were causing health problems including cancers, organ failures and more.

High school students from five school districts attended

OKOBOJI -- The Iowa Lakes Corridor held its fifth annual Be Your Own Boss seminar for high school students at Arrowwood Resort in Okoboji on Wednesday. Nearly 75 students from five schools attended and learned about entrepreneurship from young entrepreneurs. Schools attending included Spirit Lake, Clay Central Everly, Spencer, Harris-Lake Park, and Storm Lake.

"The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation has a goal to become recognized as the most attractive region in Iowa for new ventures and entrepreneurs," said Holly Pearson, Economic Development coordinator at the Corridor. "Therefore, the Corridor is focusing on youth entrepreneurship, as a grassroots level, to develop the next generation of successful entrepreneurs and leaders in our region. The Be Your Own Boss seminar is one of our youth entrepreneur programs geared to expose the students to entrepreneurship as a viable career option and to entrepreneurial thinking."

During the seminar, four break-out sessions were held. The students were broken up into smaller groups and attended each of the sessions. The sessions were led by young entrepreneurs and those who assist entrepreneurs. The speakers were Nick Cash, founder of Book Hatchery; Therese Kuster, Greg Jass and Doug Drees, co-founders of TargetClick Marketing; Grant Stanley, founder of Contemporary Analysis; and Anissa Jepsen, county youth coordinator for Iowa State University Extension Clay County.

Nick Cash led a breakout session at the Be Your Own Boss seminar. Cash is a junior computer science and economics double major at the University of Northern Iowa, and founded Book Hatchery, an ebook publishing company. (Photos submitted)

Jenifer Babe, a sophomore at Spencer High School, said, "I really enjoyed Grant Stanley and Anissa Jepsen. They got me thinking more about opportunities. I enjoyed this experience a lot."

Keynote speakers were John Slump and Jared Garfield. While still students at the University of Iowa, Slump and Garfield formed Corvida Medical. Slump's sister was being treated for cancer, and he learned that the healthcare workers helping her were being exposed to chemicals like chemo, causing cancers, organ failures, reproductive toxicity, and genetic mutations. Determined to make cancer care safer for workers and patients, the two began writing a business plan to launch a company that would design, manufacture, market, and sell disposable medical devices enabling the safe handling of hazardous drugs.

Five of the speakers, Cash, Kuester, Jass, Slump, and Garfield, are graduates of the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute. OEI is a week-long study of advanced entrepreneurship. Thirty-two students from University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, Buena Vista University, and Iowa Lakes Community College are selected to participate.

For more information about the Iowa Lakes Corridor's youth entrepreneurship programs, contact Holly Pearson at and 264-3474.

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