Friday, April 21, 2023

The University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) concluded its statewide spring Venture School program the week of April 10 by awarding $18,000 in prize money during final pitches.

Placing first at the centers were Certeza Environmental (Bret Shaw) and (Lori Palmer) from Des Moines, Level Up Bouldering (Paul Altvater) from Iowa City/Cedar Rapids/Dubuque, Three Bells Books (Molly Angstman) from Mason City, Autistic & Loved (Dr. Kit Ford) from Quad-Cities, and Living Treasures Farm (Lauri Taylor) and Mindful Living (Robyn Mellang) from Sioux City.

Thirty-one teams participated in final pitches.

Following is a list of winning businesses and their founders:

Des Moines

1st         Certeza Environmental (Bret Shaw)                                                       $1,500

              Carbon credit monitoring platform

1st (Lori Palmer)                                                            $1,500

               In-home skilled nurse care

3rd        ToVE (Brian Barney)                                                                                      $500

              Startup high-concept restaurant

Iowa City/Cedar Rapids/Dubuque

1st         Level Up Bouldering (Paul Altvater)                                                       $2,400

               Rock-climbing studio with weight room and yoga studio

2nd      Akademi (Alan Murdock)                                                                            $1,200

             Developing art and design economy in eastern Iowa

3rd       Kitchen Confidential (Noah Stein, Susann Rodriguez)                             $700

             Shared-use kitchen to cater to and house food businesses

             Trust Solar (Silvia Quezada) won Mentor’s Choice                                    $700

             Services that ensures installment payments aren’t lost

Mason City

1st         Three Bells Books (Molly Angstman)                                                     $2,000

               Bookstore/bar and coffee concept for events and meetings

2nd         Mags & Lu (Mary Jo Vrba)                                                                      $1,500

                Pet daycare, grooming, and training

3rd          Retrofit Electric (Oscar Madong)                                                           $1,000

                Service to convert vehicle to electric

4th          Buck Wild Racing (Dustin Buck)                                                                $500

                Online store and wholesale products


1st         Autistic & Loved (Dr. Kit Ford)                                                                 $2,500

               Chewable jewelry and special gifts for autistic children and families

2nd       M.A.D. Bakery                                                                                              $1,000

              Healthy sourdough products

Sioux City

1st         Living Treasures Farm                                                                                  $500

               Provide locally grown floral material to florists

1st         Mindful Living                                                                                                $500

               Assisting stay-at-home seniors