Iowa city kids are scooping up business knowledge

Jacobsen Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship helps members delight in making their own ice cream

Students sample a new flavor of ice cream that one team of fellow students invented as part of the Jacobson Institute fo
Students sample a new flavor of ice cream that one team of fellow students invented as part of the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship camp on Thursday, July 10, 2014 in the THINC Lab in Iowa City. The Heyn’s folks chose Chocolate Strawberry and made a batch of it for the students, which was unveiled on Thursday. The winning flavor is then sold at the store for 30 days and if it does well, they keep it on the menu.(Justin Torner/ The Gazette)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Perfecting an ice cream flavor is a challenging process. Would be inventors need to pick the right toppings and mixins’ to create an appealing and original concoction capable of reaching a wide audience. At the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship they add in one last ingredient: future entrepreneurial skills.

50 kids from the Iowa City area spent part of the past week dreaming up their production. Each group was handed a sheet of paper detailing the parameters for their ideas. The in front of their fellow campers the list of perspective flavors was winnowed down to just three.

The institute has partner with Heyn’s ice cream, since 1996, where one of the three flavors is chosen. Workers whip up a batch of the recipe and unveil the winner to the 5th and 6th graders.

Chocolate strawberry — a strawberry base flavor with fudge swirl and sprinkles — won this year, because as Heyn’s owner Peggy Cullivan said they are always looking for the most innovative combination.

10-year-old Sydney Walker, who help design the entry, said the group was looking to bring chocolate strawberries back.

Invoking the usual romantic treat posed a challenge as Walker said they wanted to make sure their flavor still appealed to kids. By throwing in some sprinkles and the group found its solution.

“Chocolate strawberries are more of an adult snack, but we wanted this to be made by kids for kids as well.”

Beyond the delectable dessert, the institute’s camps are geared toward cultivating the entrepreneurship spirit at a young age. Organizers attest the earlier this shown the more impact it can create.

“Kids are just natural entrepreneurs,” said Dawn Bowlus, director of the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship. “It’s a lesson for all of us to let them go and take the lead.” “They come up with awesome ideas [for ice cream and other activities].”

Cullivan said she welcomes teaching young kids business basics through activities like the ice cream challenge.

“They get to put their entrepreneurial creativity to work and it could be a total flop or a top seller,” she said.

If the new idea sells well enough it could remain on sale, which is what happened with monster mash, a combination of cookie dough, peanut butter and M & Ms.

The partnership was originally done by Paul Heyn, who owned the business until his death. Cullivan, who worked with Heyn for over 20 years said the event builds on the founder’s love for children.

The best part of the competition is when the winners and others bring their parents in, said Cullivan.

“ ... We have so many people come in and try new flavors, but it’s not like what the kid’s do when their faces light up after trying a new flavor or even the one they create.” “I get excited with them.”



•Want to try the new flavor? Heyn’s will have it in its case for about the next couple of weeks, unless they run out sooner.

811 S 1st Ave, Iowa City, IA 52245

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