PITCH. WIN. GROW. CELEBRATE.

Whether you’re a University of Iowa student or a community business owner in the state of Iowa, our competitions, awards, and funding provide you with opportunities to win cash prizes to boost your business. Keep an eye on our events page for deadlines corresponding with our competitions.

For University of Iowa students

IdeaStorm

IdeaStorm

FOR UI STUDENTS

Pitch your business idea in two minutes or less for a chance to win money to help you bring your idea to life. IdeaStorm is a great way to test out an idea and potentially win money to help you start your business. In each of the four IdeaStorm categories, cash prizes will be awarded to the best ideas. This competition is a great starting point for someone who is new to pitching and entrepreneurship competitions.

Startup Games

Startup Games

FOR UI STUDENTS

Team up, pitch ideas, and create a business in a weekend. Join students from all over campus to compete for more than $2,500 in cash prizes. Did we mention there is free food all weekend and an option to earn one credit hour? If you are interested in entrepreneurship but are new to the startup process, this is a great place to start. No idea... no problem! You can join a team and help them bring its idea to life.

Innovation Challenge 250,000

Innovation Challenge

FOR UI STUDENTS

The Innovation Challenge is a university-wide competition with the goal to identify, advance, and support the most innovative projects on campus. $200k in prizes will be awarded during the 2020-2021 academic year to the most innovative ideas!

Phase 1: Elevator Pitch Competition

  • Fall 2020
  • $75,000 in prizes

Phase 2: Business Model Competition

  • Spring 2021
  • $150,000 in prizes
Student Venture


Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition

FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IN THE STATE OF IOWA

This statewide competition invites students from colleges and universities across Iowa who have interest in starting their own venture to compete to win seed money. This competition is hosted in partnership among John Pappajohn, Equity Dynamics, and the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers located in Iowa.

Innovation and Ent Awards

Student Startup of the Year Award

FOR UI STUDENTS

Granted to a University of Iowa undergraduate or graduate student startup for significant accomplishments in entrepreneurship and innovation. Winning startup will be awarded seed capital for their achievement.

This award will be presented at the Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors.

Non-student competition and awards

Innovation Challenge 250,000

Innovation Challenge

FOR UI FACULTY, STAFF, INCUBATOR STARTUPS, PROGRAM & ACADEMIC ALUMNI

The Innovation Challenge is a university-wide competition with the goal to identify, advance, and support the most innovative projects on campus. $200k in prizes will be awarded during the 2020-2021 academic year to the most innovative ideas!

Phase 1: Elevator Pitch Competition

  • Fall 2020
  • $75,000 in prizes

Phase 2: Business Model Competition

  • Spring 2021
  • $150,000 in prizes
John Pappajohn

John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

The Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition is intended to encourage and promote entrepreneurial activity and create greater awareness of the resources available to entrepreneurs in Iowa. Participants will be judged on the basis of their written submissions. Participants who advance to later rounds will also be judged on their presentations to a panel of judges. $100,000 in cash prizes will be awarded.

Innovation and Ent Awards

Faculty/Staff Startup of the Year Award

FOR UI FACULTY/STAFF

Granted to startup affiliated with faculty/staff at the University of Iowa. Winning startup will be awarded seed capital for their achievement.

This award will be presented at the Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors.

Innovation and Ent Awards

Venture School Business of the Year Award

FOR PAST VENTURE SCHOOL STARTUPS

Granted to a startup company that has participated in the statewide seven week-long Venture School training program at a cohort location in the state of Iowa. Winners will be awarded seed capital for their achievement.

This award will be presented at the Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors.

Innovation and Ent Awards

Young Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award

FOR RECENT UI GRADUATES

Granted to an entrepreneur, who previously attended the University of Iowa, for their significant accomplishments in entrepreneurship and innovation. Individuals must be age 35 or younger at time of nomination. If there are multiple founders who meet the criteria within one business, they may all be recognized in a single nomination.

This award will be presented at the Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors.

Innovation and Ent Awards

Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award

FOR UI GRADUATES

Granted to an entrepreneur, who previously attended the University of Iowa, for their significant accomplishments in entrepreneurship and innovation. If there are multiple founders who meet the criteria within one business, they may all be recognized in a single nomination.

This award will be presented at the Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors.