ISU Entrepreneur Club travels for experience

Mackenzie Nading

Iowa State’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Chapter, known around campus as the ISU Entrepreneur Club, is taking its activity all the way to Texas. Members will improve their business and entrepreneurial skills at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization conference, from Oct. 27 through Oct. 29.

“The CEO National Conference draws 1,200 to 1,500 entrepreneurial-minded students from around the country for two and a half days of workshops, speakers, networking and learning,” said Judi Eyles, adviser of the entrepreneur club.

Any student, graduate or undergraduate who is a member of the ISU Entrepreneur Club can register up until the day of the conference, but traveling with the university is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Iowa State typically sends 20 to 30 students each year. The group collectively applies for available scholarships and participates in fundraising activities to make the trip more accessible to everyone who wants to go.

Iowa State has been allowing students the opportunity to attend the national conference since 1997. 

“The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship sent two Iowa State students to one of the first CEO Conferences in Chicago, when attendance was less than 200 people. Each year since then, the conference has grown, and so has the number of Iowa State students who attend,” Eyles said.

For the past 15 years, the conference has been held in Chicago. This year, however, students have the opportunity to travel down south to Fort Worth, Texas. The university is partnering with two other Iowa colleges, North Iowa Area Community College and Northern Iowa, and will be taking a charter bus to and from the conference. Iowa State will fill 22 seats on that bus.

Another added bonus to students who decide to attend the conference: With the location in Texas, all CEO attendees will have the opportunity to attend the TCU vs. BYU football game being played at Cowboys Stadium. All conference participants will get in free, and the students will get a special mention during halftime.

Students who choose to attend will walk away from the conference with many unique experiences.

“The conference is extremely motivating and inspirational. Students have the opportunity to meet the founders of well-known companies like Jimmy John’s,, Staples, Southwest Airlines and Chuck E. Cheese,” Eyles said. “I am always amazed at the unending chatter on the bus on the way home as students compare notes, talk about interesting people they met, and toss around new ideas of their own.”