This page contains information for University of Iowa Program and Academic Alumni interested in participating in the Innovation Challenge.

*If you are an undergrad student please see this page for additional information.


Information for University of Iowa Program and Academic Alumni


  • Up to $25,000 in prizes available
  • Applications will be reviewed and 10 finalists will be selected to advance to the competition and be reviewed by judges.
  • Now accepting applications!
  • We define "University of Iowa Program or Academic Alumni" as either have previously been enrolled as a student at University of Iowa, or having participated in an Iowa JPEC outreach program. These outreach programs include Venture School alumni, Business Consulting Clients, Small Business Development Center Clients, and businesses who employed a student intern through our Iowa Innovation Associates program.
  • This competition will provide free seed funding to winning teams - Iowa JPEC will not take any equity in your company if you are awarded funds.

Application deadlines for Phase 2 of the 2023-24 Innovation Challenge is March 25.


A five-page maximum executive summary will be submitted as a part of the application process. This summary should include:

  • Problem and solution
  • Value proposition
  • Customer segments
  • Revenue to date
  • Financial potential
  • Current Status and milestones achieved
  • Use of proceeds
  • Validation using Lean Startup Methodology

For reference on format, please visit the following links:

A 60-second (maximum) video submission covering a subset of the above will also be required as a part of the application.


  • Must meet one of the following requirements:
    • Previously been enrolled as a student at the University of Iowa
    • Be an alum of the Venture Mentoring Service program
    • Be an alum of the Venture School program
    • Be a current or past Iowa JPEC Business Consulting Client
    • Be a current or past Small Business Development Center Client
    • Be a business who employed a student intern through our Iowa Enterprise Internships program
  • Individual signing up and pitching must be a Founder/Co-Founder and/or have equal or controlling interest in the business.
  • This competition is designed to help advance early stage companies. All applicants must be pre or have limited revenue (investments and/or grants are allowed)


Application deadline for Phase 2 of the 2023-24 Innovation Challenge is March 25. 

Judging Criteria

Judges will consider the following during your presentation:

  • Problem: What customer problem does their product and/or service solve.
  • Solution: Please describe the product or service.
  • Value Proposition: What benefits does the product or service deliver to the customers and how do these compare to those delivered by their competition?
  • Customer Segments: Outline who the customers are and how they plan to reach them.
  • Financial Potential: Describe any revenue to date and the financial potential of their business opportunity.
  • Validation of the above using Business Model Canvas / Lean Startup Methodology