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Entrepreneurial events happening at Iowa State University this fall

The ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship is hosting several events this fall for student entrepreneurs. Here are some the entrepreneurial events happening at Iowa State University this fall.

Fall Startup Pitch Competition (Sept. 30)

The Startup Pitch Event is hosted every fall by the Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship. Students have the chance to pitch their business concept or idea in a 90-second elevator pitch to a panel of judges.

Smart Start Small Business Workshop (Oct. 9)

The ISU Pappajohn Center, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the Ames Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a “crash course” workshop for anyone who has ever considered starting a business.  You will learn various topics such as insurance, intellectual property, business organization, registration, and operations.  Topics will be presented by local business professionals.  Smart Start provides information as well as the opportunity to ask questions on topics such as paying taxes, applying for a business loan/grants, preparing cashflow, applying for a patent, finding resources, forming a partnership, and more.

Women Entrepreneurship Week (Oct. 18-Oct. 22)

Iowa State University joins more than 150 universities and colleges in celebration of Women Entrepreneurship Week from October 18-22, 2021. Join us across campus for a week of collaboration events featuring women entrepreneurs, and read the stories of why women create. Institutions on six continents have joined the WEW movement, and the list continues to grow.

Learn more about the upcoming WEW events happening all across the world.

Women Who Create Conference (Oct. 21)

The Women Who Create Conference brings together women entrepreneurs, women business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and individuals of all genders who support women entrepreneurs for a full day of workshops and speakers aimed at growing their business. The Women Who Create Conference takes place at Iowa State University, hosted by the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.

Registration information to come.

She Talks Community Event (Oct. 21)

Following the Women Who Create Conference, a community cocktail reception will kick-off showcasing six SheTalks presentations. What’s a SheTalk? Taken from the Japanese-inspired PechaKucha, it is a presentation style where each presenter shows 20 slides, each for 20 seconds. What makes it a SheTalk? All of the six speakers are women, and will be speaking around the theme ‘Women Who Create’. The event is hosted by the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and sponsored by the ISU Debbie & Jerry Ivy College of Business.

Iowa Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (Nov. 5)

The Iowa Chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization will host the Global Student Entrepreneur Award (GSEA) competition on November 5, 2021 at the Iowa State University Student Innovation Center, featuring six Iowa college students and entrepreneurs as finalists for the GSEA award. The GSEA awards program is the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college or university. The winning student will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the national GSEA competition.

Innovation Prize  (Nov. 12)

The ISU INNOVATION PRIZE is an incentive competition at Iowa State University that takes place on campus Students, faculty and staff, and the entrepreneurial community are invited to participate!  

The competition theme for the third annual event is Innovation at Iowa State.  There will be three focus areas for participants to solve: AgTech, EdTech, and Global Impact.

Entrepreneurial events happening at Iowa State University this fall | 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
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