Pappajohn Student Business Plan

2016 Iowa State finalists

2016 Iowa State finalists pictured L to R: Judi Eyles, ISU Pappajohn Center; Charles Forey; Matt Kinley, Equity Dynamics; Nathan Joens, Steven Brockhus, Dan Storck, Equity Dyanmics; Jessica Graham

Sponsored by John Pappajohn, 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.


  • Full or part-time undergraduate or graduate students registered for 2017-18 academic year at any Iowa post-secondary educational institution are eligible for the competition.
  • Plans may be submitted by an individual or by a team of students.
  • Teams must consist of at least one student member.
  • Teams must consist of five or fewer members.
  • Business plans must be for a start-up business only (not for an existing business).

Student applicants from the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, and North Iowa Area Community College will submit materials to their respective Pappajohn Center.  Applicants outside of these schools (other private or community colleges in Iowa) will submit materials to the Pappajohn Center closest to their home institution.

Applications are now closed for 2017

Timeline of Competition

March 30th, 2018–All applications due

Initial submission of Executive Summary, One-page Business Model Canvas, Financial Projections (Income Statement), and Terms & Conditions (signed)

March 30th to April 6th–Judging, Regional Competition ($500)

Each of the five regional locations will select no more than three top business plans to compete in the final competition.  Regional competitions may include personal interviews or oral presentations at the discretion of the regional centers.

April 9th–Up to 15 Teams Selected to Advance

April 20th–Final Statewide Competition/Awards ($5,000), tentatively set for 8AM-1PM

Regional award winners will give a pitch presentation (including slide deck) to Equity Dynamics staff in Des Moines, IA.  Three top awards ($5,000 each) will be presented following a luncheon event.  ($5,000 winners are not eligible for the $500 regional award–only one award per team.)

Guidelines & Resources

Required downloads to compete:

2017 Terms & Conditions (Adobe PDF)

Signed Terms & Conditions is required within submission.

2017 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition Guidelines (PDF)

Use this guideline as an overview for the competition.  Please note:  you do not need to submit your application via email if you are a student at Iowa State or a nearby post-secondary school to the ISU Pappajohn Center.  This is only applicable to the other regional Pappajohn Centers and post-secondary applicants.

Executive Summary reference links:

Executive Summary Guidelines (PDF)

Business Model Canvas reference links:

Business Model Template (PPT)

Financial Projections reference links:

Copy of StartupModels Financial Template (excel)

Please reference the Income Statement tab (3-year projections)

Pitch Deck reference links (required of finalists in Round 2):

Investor Pitch Template (PPT)