ISU Innovation Prize™

One Weekend, 3 Bold Challenges, An Abundance of Rewards

Friday, April 5 – Saturday, April 6, 2019

The ISU INNOVATION PRIZE™ is a new incentive competition at Iowa State University on the weekend of April 5-6, 2019.  The ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative are co-hosting the event.  It will be held at the ISU Economic Development Core Facility in ISU Research Park.  Address: 1805 Collaboration Place, Ames, Iowa, 50010.

The competition theme for the second annual event is Innovation at Iowa StateThere will be three focus areas for participants to solve:

  • AgTech:  How do we increase productivity of the global agricultural system with less negative impact on land, energy, water, and Mother Earth?

    • Possible focuses: Food Security; Food Waste; Water Quality & Availability; Keep Life Below Sea Habitable for Humankind; Combat Deforestation & Life on Land; Sustainable Agricultural; Renewable Energy in Wind, Solar, Hydropower; Energy Crops; Carbon Sequestration; New Public Policy; and Private Investment Options.
  • EdTech: How do we design & reinvent learning for a better experience (quality & value) in an age of accelerating technology?

    • Possible focuses:  Nontraditional Classroom Experiences & Models; Breakthrough Experiential Learning; Latest Brain Science & Learning Technologies; Innovative Funding Formulas; Offline & Online Learning–New Technologies, Analytics, & Robotics; When and When Not to use Assessments; Great Transformations–Shrinking Demographics in Local Schools; Life-Long Learning.
  • Global Impact: How do we improve the quality of life and continue to help solve urgent issues all around the globe?

    • Note: this category is meant to be more broad & to challenge yourself to think big!  Possible focuses:  Fighting Poverty & Reducing Inequalities Within Developing Countries; Ensure Healthy Lives & Well-Being; Achieve Gender Equality & Empower All Women and Girls; Ensuring Affordable & Clean Energy to Transform Lives, Economics & the Planet; Overcome Urban Cities Congestion & Shortage of Adequate Housing & Declining  Infrastructure; Sustain Life on Land & Combat Deforestation.

What to Expect?

During the event, participants will form in small groups, based on their interests and abilities, then choose one of the three Bold Challenges.  Why small groups?  With little to lose, entrepreneurial small teams are able to brainstorm and consistently outperform large groups when it comes to innovation.  Incentive prizes are perfectly designed to harness this energy!

Featured Facilitator, David Tominsky

David Tominsky is an entrepreneur and community builder based in Cedar Rapids Iowa. He is currently serving as the Managing Director of the Iowa Startup Accelerator (ISA).  Tominsky had a 15-year career in the technical staffing industry before joining the ISA in 2014. His work involved recruiting highly skilled technical talent for critical positions in Iowa-based companies.

As a leader in the local startup community he’s organized events like Iowa’s Creative Corridor Open Coffee Series, BarcampICR, Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids, Startup Weekend Iowa City, 1 Million Cups, Caine’s Arcade Global Cardboard Challenge, and many events during Global Entrepreneurship Week and Computer Science Education Week.


FREE to students, faculty, alumni, and community members. 

Special thanks to sponsors:


BEST AgTech iPRIZE: $1,500

BEST EdTech iPRIZE: $1,500

BEST Global Impact iPRIZE: $1,500


FRIDAY, April 5




Coaches + Mentors

Judi Eyles

Director for ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneruship & CyBIZ Lab




Clayton Mooney

Co-founder of Nebullam, KinoSol, Young Entrepreneur Convention, and Junior Entrepreneur-in-Residence at ISU Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative



Diana Wright

Marketing & Programs at the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, Connector + Organizer for Startup Ames



Kevin Kimle

Rastetter Chair for Agricultural Entrepreneurship, Director of the ISU Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative



Amanda Blair

Programs at the ISU Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative




Nate Rippke

Entrepreneur + owner, Rippke Design, Organizer for Startup Ames




Joe Sweeney

Entrepreneur + co-founder of Eagles Catch Fish Company




Register for the ISU Innovation PRIZE


Registration is required for the ISU INNOVATION PRIZE™ and full participation on Friday, April 5 through Saturday, April 6.
    It is not required to form a team before the event. Participants entering without a team will have the chance to form teams during Friday evening.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Please contact:  Diana Wright, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship at

Amanda Blair, ISU Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative at