Runyon, LAS unveil Innovation + Entrepreneurship Academy | Information

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I + E Academy 4 - Workshop with Jassma'ray Johnson

Pictured are participants in the social entrepreneurship workshop with Jassma’Ray Johnson, Junior in Psychology and Founder of Simply Samone Lipgloss.



Interested in starting a business, the concept of entrepreneurship, or producing the next big idea? How about making money, building professional skills, or ABC’s popular TV show “Shark Tank”?

If you have any of these interests, you are the perfect candidate for the new Innovation + Entrepreneurship Academy of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS).

The Innovation + Entrepreneurship (I + E) Academy is a two-year program that aims to support students through the idea process “from concept to creation”. Rebecca Runyon, a 2018 graduate of Iowa Agriculture, is the program’s director in its growing days.

“Maybe you already have it [an idea] Go, which is great, ”said Runyon. “Even if you have no idea but are curious, curiosity is the only requirement for this program.”



I + E Academy 1 - Flyer

Information about the new LAS Innovation + Entrepreneurship Academy.



Runyon’s own curiosity led to her success as a student entrepreneur. While in the state of Iowa, she successfully founded Lunchsox, an environmentally conscious company that sells socks and donates proceeds to help fight childhood hunger.

As Runyon notes, the I + E Academy appeals to all students to build their curriculum and attract members. The program offers four different paths for students with different goal types. In addition to traditional business ideas, the program also promotes ideas to improve the community.

Miranda Tze, a junior economics graduate, was led to the I + E Academy by following her passion for influencing social institutions.

“I am interested in pre-school education reform for older school-age children as it relates to the non-cognitive skills they are taught,” Tze said. “I am registered because I am more interested in social innovation and civic engagement than in entrepreneurial activity.”



I + E Academy 2 - Jensen and Weh

Dillon Jensen, Senior in Computer Science, and Mason Weh, Senior in Liberal Studies, were two winners of the LAS Pitch-Off Event 2021.



The program includes mentoring with alumni and other successful entrepreneurs. In addition, courses such as the introductory LAS 345X lead to informative learning and teaching.

“The goal of the program is to help students improve their leadership, communication, partnership and networking skills,” said Runyon.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are challenging areas where people often encounter obstacles. As fate would have it, the program encountered a significant problem – the COVID-19 pandemic. LAS College originally planned to open the I + E Academy in the fall semester of 2020. However, the arrival of the pandemic last spring delayed its triggering for a year.

“Communication was difficult during the pandemic,” Runyon said. “We would have hoped to have more students on campus, which would lead to more engagement in our kickoff activities, but we just had to be creative to get in touch with students.”

A year later, the I + E Academy is working on its autumn production again. The academy presented itself in a variety of ways at the LAS week from March 22nd to 26th. Information events are also offered as part of his awareness-raising campaign. The goal this spring is to keep collecting nominations and measuring the interest of LAS students.

“You don’t have to be a business major to participate,” said Runyon. “It is possible as a student to make this real change, regardless of your background or major.”



I + E Academy 3 - Mangesh Ahirrao

Mangesh Ahirrao, Junior in Computer Science, presents his innovative idea.



Like many other students in the program, Tze is eager to get started.

“I’m excited to learn,” said Tze. “I have such a passion for people. It’s phenomenal to be on a program where I can focus my learning through hands-on experience in the field of civic entrepreneurship and focus on my own goals. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain and I think others could probably relate to it. “

Runyon invites every interested student to an information event. There will be two sessions this week: Monday and Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in room 4250 of the Student Innovation Center. If you have any questions, please email Runyon at [email protected].