Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Pi515 hosting 2021 SMART Cities Summer Challenge for Iowa high school students

Pi515 has partnered with AT&T and the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers to create the SMART Cities Summer Challenge.

The Pi515 SMART Cities and Data Challenge is a call to Iowa high school students to help identify modern solutions to increasingly urgent urban challenges faced by the state of Iowa.

The challenge will consist of five weeks of virtual lessons and tasks. Students will research and develop professional and technical skills to enhance their understanding of SMART Cities using Data. Classes will be led by industry leaders and each student will be required to pitch a solution at the completion of the course.

The Pi515 SMART Cities Summer Challenge encourages students entering 9-12th grades to leverage technology based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and integrate an online population into new systems that make a city evolve into a SMART city. Participating students will be evaluated based on their solutions to address significant societal challenges related to the eight general recognized subjects that combine to make a city SMART: electricity, internet, record keeping, transportation, infrastructure, and population.

“The state of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers are very pleased to partner with Pi515 on this exciting summer program. Providing opportunities for Iowa youth to learn about innovation, address real-time challenges, and engage with Iowa business and community entrepreneurs and leaders will significantly impact the educational and professional development of the student participants,” said David Hensley, Director University of Iowa JPEC

Finalists will receive a cash prize to be used to further their personal and educational goals. 

The course will begin on June 15 and will continue every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm until July 15. The inal presentation and awards day will be on Thursday, July 22.

Previous coverage

Pi515 receives $100,000 donation from John Pappajohn, partners with entrepreneurial centers throughout Iowa -Nov.10, 2020

Pi515 hosting 2021 SMART Cities Summer Challenge for Iowa high school students | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now