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John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Venture Competition

Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition

Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition.

The John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition contest is intended to encourage and promote entrepreneurial activity and create greater awareness of the resources available to entrepreneurs in Iowa. We encourage innovative, new ventures to participate. Judges selected by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers will review all submissions. Participants will be judged on the basis of their written submissions and, for participants who advance to later rounds, presentations to the judges. Judges will rank participants and, subject to certain limitations, the top three will be awarded. Prospective participants must read and comply with the rules of the competition set forth on the competition website to enter and participate in the John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition. The John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition is void where prohibited by law.

Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition

The application period for the 2024 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition will soon be open.

Sponsored by John Pappajohn and Equity Dynamics, Inc., the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition is intended for Iowa university and college students with an interest in starting their own business. Plans are judged based on a) content of plan and b) viability of business idea. Three (3) seed grants in the amount of $5,000 are awarded to the top three business plans submitted in the competition. In addition, all finalists receive $500 if not chosen for the top awards. Dates and deadlines for the 2024 competition are as follows:

  • April 1: Deadline to submit application and supporting materials for Round 1
  • April 8 to 9: Round 1 judging
  • April 10: Announcement of teams that will be advancing to Round 2
  • April 22: Round 2 Presentations

For Round 1, Drake University will be hosting a Conference in conjunction with NIACC on April 5-6th.

Friday April 5th, 2024

Check in will open at 12pm

Kick Off Party at Maple Studios at 5pm

Saturday April 6th, 2024 is Presentation Day!

(Presentations will take place throughout the day where students will be assigned a location and given 5min. to present and 5min. for judge’s questions)

Throughout the day there will be guest speakers, Ask Me Anything conversations, storytelling pitch workshops, group think tanks, and various sessions students can attend!

Winners (who advance to Round 2 on April 22) will be announced at 4pm at the concluding ceremony.

This will be a great opportunity to show off what you’ve been working on as well as network with fellow student entrepreneurs!

Download a copy of the 2024 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Competition Application.

For more information about how we can help, contact the Entrepreneurship Centers at

2022 Finalists

The 2022 top three winners:

  • Continuum Ag, Mitchell Hora. Continuum Ag operates by deploying its soil health-focused RightWay program on farms across the Midwest with a footprint throughout the country and as far away as South Africa.
  • Farm Story Meats, Ray Schmidt & Jessica Vlastaras. Farm Story Meats' goal is to bring customers transparency to the locations, farms, and people that supply their food. They share the stories of the farmers that raise the animals and strive to make the supply chain of farm to customer as short as possible
  • DenScore, Kyle Gernhofer and Charlie Hubbard. DenScore is a dental navigation solution that provides an all-in-one technology/dental insights/plan optimization solution. By leveraging dental claims analytics, consumer feedback and clinical expertise, DenScore enables health plans and carriers to empower their members to make smarter and healthier decisions about their dental care.

2021 finalists

The 2021 top three winners:

  • Skroot Laboratory, Nigel Reuel, John Casko, Will Israelsen - Skroot Laboratory Inc. is a corporation founded in 2018 in Ames, IA. Skroot's focus is developing technological short-cuts for biotech companies – to help them create better products, faster. Skroot sells wireless sensors for biomanufacturing. Skroot's flagship product is a sensor system that allows continuous monitoring of cell growth in bioreactors during cell manufacturing processes in cell therapy and upstream biopharma design campaigns. The real-time monitoring provided by the products eliminates the need for manual sampling and allows industry customers to improve the quality of their design models, reduce risk of progressing costly conditions/products, and speed time to market. Skroot has a team of five employees and based at the Iowa State University Research Park in Ames. Iowa.
  • OpenLoop, Jon Lensing - OpenLoop is a fractional clinician marketplace that will care for the 460K patients that would previously be left unseen. The OpenLoop web-platform connects healthcare organizations to top-tier clinicians that fit the exact specifications required to deliver services. This platform gives healthcare organizations struggling to care for their patient populations, due to lack of clinician talent, the ability to access a temporary workforce ready to power next day patient visits. OpenLoop is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.  ​
  • No Limbits, Erica Cole - No Limbits is a ready-to-wear adaptive clothing brand with the mission of increasing comfort, confidence, and independence in those who struggle with clothing due to a disability. No Limbits' first line is an adaptive pant for amputees, with wheelchair and sensory friendly collections in development. No Limbits is based out of Iowa City, Iowa.

2020 finalists

The 2020 top three winners:

  • 3D Health Solutions, Dr. Jon Mochel – 3D Health Solutions is commercializing 3-dimensional in vitro canine cell culture lines for therapeutic drug screening purposes in both veterinary and human health applications. 3D Health Solutions is headquartered in Ames, Iowa.
  • FBB Biomed, Howard Urnovitz – FBB Biomed is harnessing the latest advancements in genetics, bioinformatics and RNA virology to develop novel approaches in combating chronic inflammatory diseases, with its first application targeting multiple sclerosis (MS) therapy. The company is concurrently applying its technology to develop its disease severity test for COVID-19 patients. FBB Biomed is located in Iowa City, Iowa. 
  • Roboflow, Joseph Nelson – Roboflow organizes, prepares, and improves image and annotation training data for developers. Roboflow transforms raw images into a trained computer vision model in minutes. Roboflow is located in Des Moines, Iowa.

Previous finalists

2019 Finalists
First place: Rantizo
Second place: Cartiligen
Third place: Vet Measure
Fourth place: 4th: Emory Dry Ice
Honorable Mention: Nebullam Firefly
Honorable Mention: No Limbits
Honorable Mention: Photonics

2018 Finalists
First place: Power Pollen
Second place: Insulights
Third place: TractorZoom
Honorable Mention: Smart Ag
Honorable Mention: Verdi Life

2017 Finalists
First place: Gross Wen Technologies (GWT)
Second place:
Third place: Pablow
Honorable Mention: Smart Ag
Honorable Mention: Terva

2016 Finalists
First place: Performance Livestock Analytics
Second place: Punctil Health
Third place: SwineTech

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