Registration continues for Iowa’s high school innovation summit

Coolest Thing Made in Iowa board chair Ralston ABI

There is still time to register for this summer’s Business Horizons 2024, Iowa’s statewide leadership and entrepreneurial program for high school students,  July 14-18 at Drake University in Des Moines. 

The five-day program, provided by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) Foundation, is for students in grades 9-12. The deadline to register is Wednesday, July 10. 

While working in teams with peers and business advisors from across the state, participants will identify a real-world problem facing students today and together create a solution in the form of a new business venture. Attendees will combine hands-on, entrepreneurial experiences with team-oriented competitions to foster their problem-solving, creativity, and future-ready skills. 

In addition, students will gain insight from industry professionals and participate in workshops on topics from business strategy to AI technology. They will explore Iowa industries and career opportunities through off-site business visits, hear from speakers such as national financial literacy expert Adam Carroll of National Financial Educators, and enjoy fun “after hours” activities.

Students also are eligible to earn three transferable college credits for their participation in the week.

“This program surrounded me with so many individuals that showed interest in my future in Iowa,” Aaron Acosta, a 2023 participant from Des Moines East High School, said in an ABI news release. “Whether it was helping me better understand startups or connecting me with company leaders, Business Horizons truly shined a light on innovation and limitless opportunities.”

Program Director Jessi McQuerrey added: “Students see ‘business’ in the name and get nervous thinking it won’t be nearly as much fun as it is. But there’s a reason our participants are the ones who created the catchphrase ‘the best week of summer’ and ask us to add days to the program.”

Organizers said the transformation they see in the students over the week is remarkable. “They accomplish more than they thought possible, gain a boost of self-confidence, and meet friends and mentors they stay in touch with for years to come,” Ms. McQuerrey said.

To register or for more information, visit

The program cost is $400, which covers all meals, lodging, activities, and materials. Need-based financial assistance is available and may be requested through the online registration form. 

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