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Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition

The Spring 2016 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition winners have been selected!

Congratulations to Kelsi Ziemann Artistry, SwineTech, and VIM!

The Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition, sponsored by John Pappajohn, Equity Dynamics, Inc., awarded three, $5,000 awards to SwineTech (University of Iowa), Kelsi Ziemann Artistry (Drake University), and VIM (University of Northern Iowa). The final statewide competition was held at the Pappajohn Higher Education building in downtown Des Moines last Friday, April 22.

A total of thirteen student businesses competed as regional finalists selected from each of the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers (including surrounding private or community colleges): Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, North Iowa Area Community College, University of Iowa, and Drake University. Each regional finalist was also awarded $500, if not selected for the top award. The competition is held every spring and is intended for Iowa university and college students with an interest in starting their own business.


Kelsi Ziemann Artistry (KZA)—Kelsi Ziemann (Drake University)
Kelsi Ziemann Artistry (KZA) began as a professional service-based cosmetics company offering on-location makeovers. After thousands of customer requests for a long-wearing lipstick and lip liner in coordinating colors, KZA is in the final stages of developing a patented lipstick and lip liner kit that makes it easier for customers to shop for and store lip products. Empowering women is central to the brand so KZA will be donating a percentage of sales to empower women through educational scholarships.

SwineTech — Matthew Rooda, Abraham Espinoza (University of Iowa)
SwineTech is dedicated to the improvement of farrowing monitoring systems, an Iowa-based company located in New Sharon, Iowa and formed as a Delaware C Corp. SwineTech is striving to be a leading producer of farrowing monitoring systems for sow farms in the pork industry. SwineTech creates solutions to reduce the amount of piglets that die on farrowing facilities because they are being crushed by sows. SwineTech’s mission is to help farmers increase production in order to play their part in helping feed the world.

VIM — Kevin O’Rourke (University of Northern Iowa)
VIM is a piece of hardware that attaches to existing weight equipment. This hardware can track the weight, sets and reps performed by the individual exercising, and send it straight to their mobile device. Additionally, the software analyses the data and gives meaningful action points so individuals can hit their goals.

Drake University Finalists

  • AceShakers
  • Kelsi Ziemann Artistry
  • Ojo

About the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition

Sponsored by John Pappajohn and Equity Dynamics, Inc., the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition is intended for college and university students in Iowa who have an interest in starting their own business. This competition runs annually in the spring. Plans are judged based on content and viability of the plan. The competition consists of two parts: Round 1, regional; and Round 2, statewide. In Round 1, the competition awards up to three $500 grants in each region. The successful regional finalists head to the statewide competition for Round 2, where the top three business plans receive $5,000 each. This competition will open again in Winter 2017.


  1. Full or part-time undergraduate or graduate students at any Iowa post-secondary educational institution are eligible for the competition.
  2. Plans may be submitted by an individual or by a team of students.
  3. Teams must consist of at least one student member.
  4. Teams must consist of five or fewer members.
  5. Business competition applications must be for a start-up or new business only (not for an existing business).  


Questions? Please email us.

October 25, 2016
Drake University will host a panel discussion Tuesday, Nov. 1, on the topic “Are International Financial Institutions Still Relevant?”