CEDAR FALLS — A University of Northern Iowa student is in the running for a global entrepreneur award.
Robert Sales won the regional Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Student Entrepreneur Award, which includes competitors from all over the Midwest.
As part of the award, Sales will receive a package of business tools worth $23,500, including a $1,500 cash prize, an all-expenses-paid trip to the national competition and thousands of dollars worth of time with consultants, accountants, and other business trainers.
The GSEA is a global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college. Nominees face off against their peers from around the world in a series of local and national competitions in hopes of qualifying for the finals.
Sales’ business, a year-round concession stand called Rob’s Mini Donuts, was a fixture at Panther football and basketball games. He also mentors other entrepreneurial students at the UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. He has been recognized with several other awards, including the MAC Impact Student Business of the Year for 2020.
“I was confident that Rob would do well at the competition because he is willing to put forth the time and effort to succeed, which is evident in his business evolution this past year,” Laurie Watje, associate director of the Pappajohn Center, said in a news release.
Sales got his start in the food industry about eight years ago at various restaurants and in dining services at Central College in Pella, where he worked as a high school student.
He started with a food truck but then upgraded his doughnut-making machine just before the fall semester in 2019. That doubled his capacity, allowing him to make about 2,400 of his trademark cinnamon-and-sugar doughnuts per hour, and equipped him for a year-round stand in the concessions industry.
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