University of Northern Iowa

2016

Wes Merrill is named the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year award. Merrill won for his company ThoughtTop. ThoughtTop sells custom fitted whiteboards that you can unlock the freedom to draw, sketch, write reminders, and place new stickers on any surface.

Michael and Cody Caraway are the recipients of the  R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator Student Business of the Year. The Caraway’s won this award for their company Monday Creations, a digital creation agency helping brands engage with millennials.

Keevin O’Rourke wins Pappajohn New Venture Student Business Plan Competition at the Pappajohn Education Center in Des Moines. He won for his business idea VIM, a hardware device that attaches to existing weight equipment that can analyze the data and give meaningful action points so individuals can hit their goals.

2015

Brian Hoyer receives UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year and the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator Student Business of the Year for the success of Rite Environmental. Hoyer continues to grow the company from curbside recycling in Cedar Falls to a full-service company offering recycling, refuse, and other services.

Russel Karim placed first at the Technology Association of Iowa’s Okoboji area Pitch-n-Grow for his FanFood business in August. FanFood is a moblie app that allows you to order food from the stands in stadiums without having to leave your seat.

Wes Hinton and Sara Koch were on the winning teams for the 2015 Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute’s business stimulation competition in August. Each student received a $250 cash prize.

UNI regional winners for the 2015 Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition held in May in Des Moines were: Keevin O’Rourke and Alec Fetterer for Monday Creations, Tyler Persinger of TwitchBoss, and Bryan Helleso of his aerial marketing business using drones.

2014

Cassie Evers, sophomore finance and management double major, won the UNI Elevator Pitch Competition and got the opportunity to test her elevator pitch against college student from across the U.S. at the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization. She won pitching her concept for a time management mobile application, 25/7.

Zach Hampton and Tyler Polk receive UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year for their company, Porky Pines Productions, an online cartoon series.

Aaron Baughman is the recipient of the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator Student Business of the Year for his excellence in entrepreneurship and small business operation.

Tim Luchtefeld and Michael Klostermann were on the winning teams for the 2014 Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute’s business stimulation competition in August. Each student received a $250 cash prize.

2013

Brian Hoyer has been named Iowa Recycling Association’s 2013 Recycler of the Year award. Hoyer won for himself and his company, Recycle Rite, on July 18 in Des Monies. He was recognized for filling a real need in the community and providing social as well as financial benefits.  In November, Hoyer was then elected to the board of directors of the Iowa Recycling Association, a non-profit serving the recycling industry. Next, he was awarded the John Pappajohn prize for the most entrepreneurial activity and development from the 2012 class of the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute. Finally, Hoyer was recognized as a Cedar Valley 20 Under 40 recipient.

Eric Vander Schaaf revives the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Nathan Wiemers is the recipient of the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator Student Business of the Year. Wiemers won the award for his online coffee roasting company, The Roaster.

Aaron Baughman, metal casting major, won the UNI Elevator Pitch Competition and competed at the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization. Baughman also won the pitch contest in Okoboji at the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute in August. Each competition Baughman pitched his company, Anvil Guitars, where they manufacturer customer guitars.

Johnale Jackson and Jake Kopriva were on the winning teams for the 2013 Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute’s business stimulation competition in August. Each student received a $250 cash prize.

2012

Brian Hoyer and Tim Schulte won one of three $5,000 first place awards in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition for Hoyer’s business, Recycle Rite Inc. Recycle Rite provides single-stream curbside recycling services for residential and commercial customers in Cedar Falls and other parts of the Cedar Valley.

Taylor Smothers, senior majoring in construction management, real estate, and entreprenuership, was selected as the JPEC Student Business Incubator Tenant of the Year. He received this award for his business, Smothers Properties, where he owns 3 properties with Paige Smothers.

Christian Brown is the recipient of the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year for his business, CMB Portfolio Management LLC. He was also selected for his publication in the Journal of Economics on the Sum of Perpetuties method for estimating a stock’s fair value.

Emina Halidovic and Summer Kunkle were on the winning teams for the 2012 Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute’s business stimulation competition in August. Each student received a $250 cash prize.

Eric Vanderschaff, senior marketing major, won the UNI Elevator Pitch Competition and got the opportunity to test his elevator pitch against college student from across the U.S. at the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

2011

Adam O’Leary and Tony Patterson received $4,000 winning second place representing the UNI Entrepreneurs/Students in Free Enterprise team at the Sam’s Club Environmental Sustainability Challenge. The Challenge provides the opportunity for SIFE teams and Sam’s Club associates to work together to implement environmentally sustainable practices in the facilities and operations of Sam’s Business Members’ businesses.

Nick Cash has been named one of “America’s Coolest College Start-Ups of 2011” by Inc magazine, and is the winner of the 2011 Prometheus Award for Student Innovation of the Year from the Technology Association of Iowa for his business Book Hatchery. Book Hatchery provides self-publishers the ability to manage and sell their texts as well as maximize their publications’ exposure on the Internet.  It also aims at creating a strong community for self-publishers seeking a platform of support and an ability to share their expertise for the benefit of all authors.

Greg Jass and Therese Kuster won one of three $5,000 first place awards in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition for the business SEO Solutions LLC. SEO Solutions is a comprehensive internet marketing firm specializing in sear engine optimization, pay per click advertising, email marketing, social media management and web design.

Greg Jass and Nick Cash won the two awards presented annually by the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute Pappajohn Awards. Each year the awards are presented to the two most entrepreneurial students who participated in the previous year’s institute. Judging is based on actual activities associated with entrepreneurship, as well as academic achievement.

Nick Cash and Greg Jass are recognized as the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year for their excellence in entrepreneurship and education.

Therese Kuster was named the Young Entrepreneur Council/Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Student Entrepreneur of the Year at the National CEO Conference. Kuster won for her business, TargetClick Marketing Solutions.

Ben Frien, UNI graduate, was selected to be a member of the U.S. delegation to the G20 Youth Entrepreneur Summit in Nice, France. The event was hosted by French President Sarkozy for 400 young entrepreneurs from around the world. Frien was selected based on two regional wins at the Global Student Entrepreneurs’ Organizations annual competitions.

2010

Nick Cash and his business Book Hatchery, won one of three $5,000 first place awards in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition. Book Hatchery provides self-publishers the ability to manage and sell their texts as well as maximize their publications’ exposure on the Internet.

Nick Cash is one of five finalists in Entrepreneur magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2010 contest. His start-up, Book Hatchery, is located in UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

Former UNI student, Rich Judas is the owner of Wind-Rich Energy Solutions of Waterloo. Wind-Rich Energy Solutions will be installing a school-spirited, 10 kw wind turbine on the south end of campus next to the Industrial Technology Center.

Adam O’Leary won the UNI Elevator Pitch Competition and will now move on to test his pitch against college students from across the country. O’Leary won for the business being developed by the UNI Entrepreneurs student organization, Iowa Land, an acrylic souvenir item for tourists and university alumni. O’Leary also received the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year award for excellence in entrepreneurship and education.

2009

Stephen Rausch of Ionea, received the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year award for his family-owned trucking business which has grown to become one of Iowa’s largest sub-contractors in the construction and agricultural industries.

Mark Watje of Cedar Falls, received the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year award for his small business development of JIT Truck Parts. JIT Truck Parts specializes in providing advanced delivery of parts for trucks and equipment manufacturers in Iowa, Southern Minnesota and Eastern Illinois.

Zach Hedrington won one of three $5,000 first place awards in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition. His business, 3Fueled LLC, consults with companies that want to produce energy and byproducts from renewable energy and annually renewable feedstocks.

Travis Lloyd Smith and Dante Means received a $1,000 honorable mention award in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition for their business, Band of Christians LLC Band of Christians is an entertainment company dedicated to providing motivational speaking, professional workshops and inspirational music for audiences of all ages, races and backgrounds.

Team Andrews, consisting of Mark Watje, Malcolm Thomas and Ben Steines, took home the first prize award of $1,000 from the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization’s Capsim Foundation Business Stimulation academic-year competition. This team won by achieving the highest Balance Scorecard which tracks business benchmarks like return on investment, cumulative profit and cash flow.

Ben Frein is one of 13 U.S. and 19 international finalists selected through regional competitions to complete for over $150,000 in cash, prizes and services at the Global Finals for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards competition. His company E-Holdings LLC, specializes in Web site design and hosting and operates several e-commerce businesses. His selection as a finalist qualified him to be part of the highly selective accelerator program of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Ben Frein, graduate of UNI and JPEC, has been selected to compete in the first round of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards competition in Chicago. This is the second time Frein has received this honor.

Travis Steffen wins Elevator Pitch Competition to advance to the national competition held in Chicago at the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference.

2008

Stephen Rausch of Ionia, a senior management major and co-owner of Rausch Brothers Trucking, received the UNI JPEC Student Business Incubator Student Business of the Year for his work in the management and growth of the family business.

Ben Frein of Garner, a senior majoring in computer science and finance and owner of E-Holdings, LLC, received an award for special service to the Student Business Incubator for his assistance to other businesses in the program.

Joseph Eibes of Carter Lake, a senior graphic communications major and owner of Theater by Demand and J & J Services (a window washing company), received the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year award for his growth in the entrepreneurship program with his two businesses.

Tyson Hanish, marking major, wins national elevator pitch competition held at the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference. Sixty contestants “pitched” their opportunities to panels of judges in three rounds of competition to narrow down to the top three prize winners.

2007

Business partners Ben Frein and Dustin O’Leary are the recipients of the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year award. Their company E-Holdings is the parent company of BellyBling.net, an e-commerce site for belly button rings and a new company whose product is a Facebook application.

2006

Carlos Arguello from Caroll, is the recipient of the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year award. One business is a Spanish/English translation and interpretation service focusing primarily on the banking, medical and legal industries, and the other is a Spanish-language newspaper for Western Iowa that he hopes will eventually serve all of Iowa.

2005

Russell Hotchkiss purchased Waterloo Fire Extinguisher in 2001 from a local family and has since more than doubled its revenue, services, trucks and employees. Hotchkiss received the UNI JPEC CBA Student Entrepreneur of the Year award for his achievements.