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University of Iowa News Release

March 6, 2003

Iowa Entrepreneurship Class Project Raises Money for FDNY

The Entrepreneurship and New Business Formation class at the University of Iowa is closing in on its goal of $50,000 in profits to refurbish Engine Co. 55 of the New York City Fire Department.

The profit represents two semesters of effort for the class members. Moved by the events of 9/11, a group of entrepreneurship students traveled to New York and visited the aging fire station, which proved to be in need of repair. This spring, the class started selling shirts with the theme of "Heroes Wanted" to raise funds to refurbish Engine Co. 55.

"The class before us sold 6,000 t-shirts and our class is working on selling 3,000 raffle tickets for a 2003 Harley-Davidson Fatboy," said Tim Rypma, a junior from Des Moines, Iowa. Approximately 1,000 tickets remain for the raffle.

Tickets can be purchased at the class web site at or by calling (319) 337-8899. The website also highlights class achievements, setbacks and corporations who have contributed to the philanthropic effort.

Rypma added that two college entrepreneurship ventures recently profiled on CNN sold 300 and 80 units respectively, but the UI students have far exceeded those numbers. "The class sold 6,000 'Heroes Wanted' t-shirts last semester -- that's amazing," said Rypma. "We believe that Iowa has one of the best entrepreneurial programs in the country and we're proving it by making a profit and donating it to the FDNY."

Companies all over the Midwest sold the "Heroes Wanted" t-shirts, while class members had sales at football games, campus events, and at a kiosk in Coral Ridge Mall. Online sales were made in 29 states; fire departments and schools joined the efforts. The shirts, which are $10 to $13 and come in various sizes, can still be ordered online at

The FDNY project will end on March 21 when the motorcycle raffle drawing will be held. After that the class will focus on Iowa-based projects, said instructor, Joe Sulentic.

The Entrepreneurship and New Business Formation class, which is designed to gain practical experience and skills in entrepreneurship, is part of the program of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, University of Iowa News Services 319-384-0012, Program: Andy Stoll, Heroes Wanted Project, 319-337-8899.