By Diana Wright, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) named Iowa State University as winner of its sixth annual Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards for economic engagement. Iowa State won the “talent” category, along with Kansas State recognized for ‘innovation” and the University of Maryland recognized for “economic engagement connections.” The APLU cited Iowa State’s establishment of an ecosystem to incubate startups and advise firms, including CYstarters and CyBIZ Lab programs for students.
Iowa State University established an ecosystem to incubate startups and advise existing firms, focusing on talent and business development. Last year, the university launched CYstarters [corrected from original article] to provide a 10-week summer accelerator program for students. Students pitch business plans, participate in educational sessions, and receive mentoring as they launch businesses. Iowa State’s CyBiz Lab provides interdisciplinary consulting to companies and faculty commercialization efforts, providing students hands-on experience while supporting local businesses. Iowa State also contributes to the state’s talent development through learning and skills development programs for students before they enter college. The university runs the North Central STEM Hub, one of six regional hubs of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Initiative, to spark student interest in the STEM disciplines.