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Entrepreneurial events happening at the University of Iowa this fall

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

Startup Incubator Open House

The Startup Incubator Open House is an open house for students interested in entrepreneurship or starting their own business. Iowa JPEC offers free assistance to UI students, staff, and faculty. The event will take place Aug. 31, 2022 from 11 a.m. – 1p.m.

Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors

The Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors recognizes students, alumni, faculty, staff, and JPEC program participants who create value through innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Honors will recognize both the 2022 award winners during a reception on Friday, Sept. 9.


IdeaStorm is an entry-level in-person pitch competition across the University of Iowa’s campus that encourages students to share their innovative ideas, all while familiarizing themselves with the pitching process.  This event helps students to share their new, never heard before ideas without the requirements of a business plan or proposal. 

The event will take place on Sept. 22 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Startup Games Fall 2022

Startup Games is a three-day event where students, from all areas of study, pitch their ideas to have an impact. After you pitch, you will form teams and work together to bring the best ideas to life. By the third day, each team will pitch to a group of panelists for a chance to win cash prizes.

The event will take place Oct. 14-16. The deadline to enter is Sept. 28, 2022.

Iowa Innovation Challenge

The Innovation Challenge will bring $250,000 in total funding during the 2022-23 academic year across the University of Iowa’s campus. The Challenge is a university-wide competition with the goal to identify, advance and support the most innovative and entrepreneurial projects on campus.

The first phase, an Elevator Pitch Competition, will be held on Nov. 14 and 15, 2022. Applications are due Oct. 31, 2022. Coaching will be available to help individuals and teams prepare.

Entrepreneurial events happening at the University of Iowa 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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