One week can change a student entrepreneur's life - let us show you how

Youth Entrepreneurial Academy

An Exciting Opportunity For Student Entrepreneurs

Summer Entrepreneurship Academy
What Youth Entrepreneurial Academy, aka YEA, is a fun opportunity to learn about starting your own business and begin creating wealth for yourself doing something you are passionate about. Learn the ins and outs of starting a business and becoming your own boss. Students will transform ideas and passions into a viable business plan. This academy is free to participants because of the generous financial support from the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation. Every participant will receive a $500 NIACC scholarship and have an opportunity to compete for seed money to launch their business this summer. At the end of YEA students have the opportunity to compete in a pitch competition and win seed money for their venture.
When Monday June 3 - Friday June 7, 2024 | 8:30am-4:00pm
+ Tuesday June 11, 2024 - Pitch Competition | 5:30pm-8:30pm
Where NIACC Pappajohn Center
Who Current high school students
Details Over 270 North Iowa students have participated in this program. Approximately 25 aspiring student entrepreneurs from North Iowa will participate. Join in the interesting activities, insightful guest speakers, pitch competition and fun field trips!
Apply Applications are available from your high school advisor, business teachers, or the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Applications can be completed via an Online Application Form or by downloading the Fillable Application Form. Fill out and return to Kelley O'Rourke. Applications are due May 17, 2024 for priority deadline, or until program is full.

Want to learn more? Contact the Pappajohn Center at 641-422-4111
or email Kelley.O'

What is the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy?

The Youth Entrepreneurial Academy is a unique opportunity for a motivated high school student like you. It’s designed to provide you with the fundamental skills to start your own business and become an entrepreneur. The Youth Entrepreneurial Academy consists of several components including an evening orientation and a 5 day academy in which you focus on the development of skills, knowledge, and attitudes of entrepreneurship. The 5 day academy concludes with a Pitch Competition, where students can compete for cash prizes.

Upon successful completion of the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy, you will be awarded a $500 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy Scholarship if you choose to attend NIACC. This scholarship can also be used for summer or on-line classes at NIACC.


1. You must complete the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy application form and return it to the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Your application package will consist of:

  • A completed application form and statement of commitment, if selected * A self-evaluation of approximately 250 words.
  • A personal recommendation from teacher, employer or coach.
  • A statement of commitment from your parent(s) or guardian supporting your participation in the program.

2. You will participate in a personal interview.
3. The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center will notify you regarding your participation in the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy.


To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a high school student.
  • Have a history of achievement in academics, employment, or extracurricular activities.
  • Plan to continue your education at a college or university after high school graduation.
  • Have completed the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy student application form and participated in a student interview.


Students will be selected based on combination of the written materials submitted and the personal interview. Students will be assessed in the areas of:

  • Innovation and creativity
  • Leadership
  • Motivation and interest
  • Unique competencies or expertise


Academy enrollment includes:

  • $500 Scholarship
  • Travel Expense paid
  • Potential money to start business


Download the Fillable Application Form


Apply via Online Form


Mail completed applications to:
NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center
500 College Drive, Mason City, IA 50401


Email to Kelley.O'