Student-Run Since '51

E-Center holds 4th Annual Entrepreneurship Expo

Paige Wieland, Staff Writer

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The 4th Annual Muscatine Entrepreneurship Exposition, known as E-Day, will be held on May 5 and 6. MCC business instructor Jim Elias, who is President and Executive Director of the E-Center (the Muscatine Center for Business Development), is excited about the event and believes it is going to “foster the mindset of entrepreneurism and get people fired up about starting something.”
Day one, Tuesday May 5, is the Founders Forum. It will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and be held at the Muscatine History and Industry Center on Second Street in downtown Muscatine. This Founders Forum is designed specifically for students at MCC and Muscatine High School, with chances to talk face to face with local entrepreneurs and CEO’s.
Keynote speakers include Doug Buster, President and Founder of Fabricators Plus, and Daniel Nietzel, Inventor/Founder/President of Fighting Chance Solutions. There will also be activities like the E-Speed Roundtable Workshops with local entrepreneurs, the E-Challenge networking reception, tours and activities.
“Free lunch and no class!” was Elias’ motivation to inspire students to attend.
Day two, Wednesday May 6, is the Startup Challenge Event, and is what Elias is most excited about. This is a community affair spread throughout Strahan Hall, which puts budding Muscatine entrepreneurs into the spotlight.
MCC student entrepreneurs and local Muscatine entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to pitch their business ideas. Set up similarly to a science fair, these 15 participants will have booths to showcase and discuss their businesses and ideas during a sort of mock cocktail hour. Then the competition will begin. Of the 15 participants, there will be five finalists selected who will get to pitch their idea publicly in a “sort of a shark tank type presentation,” said Elias.
“The participants, students and area entrepreneurs who come pitch [benefit from this event]; it’s an opportunity for them to practice their pitching but to also get the word out about what their idea is, to meet people, to network with potential funders, potential customers and supporters of all types,” Elias said.
The Start Up Challenge Event evening will end with keynote speaker Nate Kaeding, former University of Iowa and NFL football player and serial entrepreneur. Kaeding will announce the winner of the Start Up Challenge.
Elias believes that day two contains a great event for business people and is encouraging anyone with a pitch, or even curiosity, to participate. “By actually meeting and getting to know local entrepreneurs first hand… having that opportunity for one on one conversations with them, that is invaluable.”

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Student-Run Since '51
E-Center holds 4th Annual Entrepreneurship Expo