You won't believe who has the best student entrepreneurship program in the world
On April 18th, the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center’s (JPEC), R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator received the inaugural Student Entrepreneurship Program of the Year award by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) for its unparalleled work in student entrepreneurship. The UNI JPEC team traveled to Orlando, Fla., to attend the 30th International Conference on Business Incubation where they were recognized at the member recognition and awards dinner at the Kennedy Space Center.
The award was based, in-part, by UNI JPEC student entrepreneur success stories, like former New York Yankees minor league player and UNI alumnus, Tyson Hanish. Hanish was selected by the New York Yankees minor league team during his senior year at UNI. After a few years with the team he realized a career in the pros looked dim, so he returned to UNI to finish his Marketing degree. While taking an entrepreneurship class he developed a business plan for Big League Analysis - an online service where youth ballplayers could upload their hitting videos and receive feedback on technique and improvement from professional players. Hanish continued to build his business idea at the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator located in the JPEC, where he used his connections with Major League Baseball (MLB) to secure the pro players and eventually establish a partnership with the MLB organization. His company and the partnership eventually grew into the MLB Digital Academy, where Hanish is now CEO.
This award is a direct reflection of the JPEC’s mission to create a comprehensive program in entrepreneurship education for students, while incorporating UNI’s intellectual property and technology transfer activities. Started in 1996 from the generous support of John Pappajohn, the UNI JPEC offers innovative and comprehensive programs in entrepreneurship education for students and the community. Last year alone, the JPEC served 2,531 clients, primarily students, with various programs such as student business incubation, academic classes, competitions, conferences and a student organization.
In response to receiving the prestigious honor, Katherine Cota, UNI JPEC Associate Director and Intellectual Property Officer stated, “The entire JPEC team has worked hard to create a program that serves student entrepreneurs and we appreciate the acknowledgement of our effort by InBIA. We are humbled to be awarded with so many other great incubator programs across the world"