Middle Bit: Statewide John Pappajohn Competition to Once Again Award $100,000 in Cash Prizes

Applications for the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Venture Competition are now being accepted. The sixteenth annual statewide competition will be awarding  $100,000 in cash prizes.  

The $100,000 in seed funding consists of a $50,000 contribution from John and Mary Pappajohn and a $50,000 match from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). The goal of the competition is to support Iowa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.  

Iowa businesses that have been in operation for four years or less, or are not yet cash flow positive are  eligible to apply. This competition is open to businesses including, but not limited to, technology, biotechnology, green technologies, medical, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, engineering, and  education industries.  

Participants will be judged on written submissions, and, those who advance to the final round of the  competition, will present to a panel of judges. First place will be awarded $40,000, second place  $25,000, and third place $15,000. Awards for other categories will total $20,000.  

Applications for the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Venture Competition are due Monday, May 17,  2021.  

NewBoCo adds 3 new board members

Cedar Rapids nonprofit NewBoCo recently named three new members to its Board of Directors.

Joy Briscoe is a consummate diversity, equity and inclusion professional who currently serves as the Talent Acquisition and Outreach Specialist for Waterloo Schools. Prior to working at the district, Joy led the YWCA of Black Hawk County in its mission to eliminate racism and empower women as the Marketing and Development Director. She is the co-founder of Inclusion Cedar Valley, the Cedar Valley Fashion Art and Culture Expo, SHIPHT Youth Opportunity Accelerator, the Minority Business and Entrepreneurship Accelerator and the 24/7 Black Leadership Advancement Consortium.

Erica Cole is the founder of No Limbits, an adaptive clothing line with the mission of increasing comfort, confidence, and independence for those with disabilities. She has been a part of several incubators, including the Hawkeye Summer Accelerator, Target Incubator, Future Founders Fellowship, and is currently in residence at the Halcyon Incubator in Washington DC. No Limbits received the University of Iowa Student Startup of the Year Award in 2019, and Erica received the Female Founder of the Year Award in 2020.

Wendy Nielsen serves as First Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust. A graduate of Coe College, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration and public relations. Since joining CRBT in 2001, Wendy has drawn from her diverse background with the bank to help people connect and engage with the CRBT brand through various initiatives ranging from traditional and digital marketing to events. Wendy is a 2011 Leadership for Five Season graduate, 2014 CBJ Forty Under 40 honoree, 2017 Waypoint Tribute to Women of Achievement honoree and most recently named 2019 Chief Marketing Officer of the Year (For Profit) by the CBJ.

“We are incredibly excited that Joy, Erica, and Wendy all accepted our invitation to join the NewBoCo Board,” said NewBoCo Executive Director Aaron Horn. “Each new member brings with them critical experiences and skill sets to support our organization. Our nonprofit really values the contributions of our Board as we grow and continue to deliver strategic solutions to the always-evolving ecosystem needs in entrepreneurship, innovation, and tech education.”

Iowa Tech Policy Podcast discusses Iowa’s Tech Funding Ecosystem

TAI’s most recent episode of Iowa Tech Policy Podcast, Iowa’s Tech Funding Ecosystem, highlights Iowa’s public innovation funds, the current state of Iowa’s startup ecosystem, and the importance of funding innovators and early-stage companies. 

Adrienne Greenwald, Managing Principal at VentureNet Iowa, discusses her work in managing Iowa’s public innovation funds and evaluating startup companies seeking state funding. She also walks through the evaluation process and why Iowa needs to invest in innovators and early-stage companies.

Eric Engelmann, General Partner at ISA Ventures, shares his experience building and providing resources for entrepreneurs through Iowa Startup Accelerator and ISA Ventures. He also discusses the current state of the Iowa startup ecosystem and his efforts to better connect investors with founders in rural areas to ensure opportunities are available for everybody to participate in Iowa’s tech ecosystem.