Friday, April 14, 2023

Four business ideas shared $5,000 in prize money at the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) Venture School Spring Pitch competition April 11 at Kirkwood Regional Center in Coralville, Iowa.

Leading the way was Paul Altvater and Level Up Bouldering, which was awarded $2,400. The business will incorporate a rock-climbing studio with a weight room and yoga studio. Second place and $1,200 went to Alan Murdock and Iowa Arts Media: Akademi. The business focuses on developing art and design economy in eastern Iowa. Earning the third prize of $700 was Kitchen Confidential, with the pitch given by Susanna Rodriguez. Kitchen Confidential will develop a shared-use kitchen to cater to and house small and medium-sized food businesses. A Mentor’s Choice award of $700 went to Silvia Quezada and Trust Solar. Her company is a web-based escrow service that ensures that installment payments aren’t lost if a contractor disappears or files for bankruptcy.

Iowa JPEC Venture School instructors were Scott Swenson, Eric Dregne, and Jay Cooper. Mentors from the professional community included Liz Hubing, Alex Taylor, Margaret Horsfield, Paul Heath, Mohamed Traore, Anna Spooner, Thom Powell, Julie Lammers, Carrie Tedore, Michaela Freiburger, and Eric Eller.

Iowa JPEC is the hub for entrepreneurship education and outreach at the University of Iowa.

Spring 2023 Iowa JPEC Venture School Award Winners:

First Place               Level Up Bouldering      Paul Altvater                                   $2,400

Second Place         Akademi                         Alan Murdock                                  $1,200

Third Place             Kitchen Confidential     Susanna Rodriguez, Noah Stein       $700

Mentor’s Choice    Trust Solar                     Silvia Quezada                                      $700