About Business Horizons

Business Horizons, a program of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation, is a weeklong personal and professional development program for Iowa high school students. Students (grades 9-12) from across the state attend each summer to explore career opportunities and immerse themselves in a unique, hands-on working environment with their peers. The program has enjoyed more than 30 years of success in Iowa, and over 5,000 students have taken advantage of the Business Horizons experience.

Teams of students (“Industries”) work together and alongside Iowa professionals to navigate through exciting challenges and competitions throughout the five-day program. Students are tasked to create a product, develop a business and marketing strategy, film an infomercial and pitch their idea to a panel of investors at the end of the week. Participants also get a chance to hear from excellent speakers about a variety of relevant topics and participate in dynamic team-building exercises. In the evening hours, students enjoy fun activities with new friends.

We often hear that Business Horizons not only changes the way students think, but also how they perceive themselves and their future. Throughout the week, students build upon their inherent leadership skills in a positive team environment, allowing them to better define their personal strengths and interests. Students are exposed to new career possibilities as they visit local businesses and connect with professionals in a variety of industries. Business Horizons is an experiential learning opportunity that provides essential future-ready knowledge and skills for students regardless of career interest.

For a day-by-day overview of the program, please visit the Students page or contact us to learn more.

Career-Specific Tracks

All participants are placed on a business team unless they select to participate in one of Business Horizons' alternative options for students with specific career interests in media or technology.

  • Media Track: Provided by the Iowa Newspaper Foundation, the media track is an option for students interested in media, journalism and communication. This group becomes the "voice" of Business Horizons and cover all the action of the week. Students have the opportunity to learn what it's like to work journalism today from media professionals, maintain social media accounts and their own Business Horizons Media website, and publish a newspaper for students and parents to take home at the end of the week. 

  • Technology Track: This is an excellent option for students who want to be entrepreneurs, problem-solvers and builders of technology. This team's schedule closely aligns with the business groups, only they create their own Business Horizons tech start-up and a technology-related product. Students learn about Agile/Scrum project management, user experience, development and more. 

To participate in the Media and/or Technology Tracks, students simply need to mark the appropriate checkbox on their Business Horizons application. 10-12 students are accepted into each team each year on a first-come, first-served basis. Once filled, interested students will be placed on a waiting list and assigned a business team.

Cost & Financial Aid

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the ABI Foundation seeks to keep costs as low as possible for all participants with help from generous statewide sponsors.

2019 Participant Fee = $385 (Covers lodging, all meals, materials and activities for the week.)

Please note, however, that we offer two discount deadlines for early applicants:

  • Apply on/before May 10 and receive $60 off ($325)
  • Apply on/before June 10 and receive $35 off ($350)

Students in need of financial assistance to help cover the participation fee should contact us to discuss the option of a partial or full program scholarship.