Iowa State University Receives Heartland Challenge Grant From Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Ames, Iowa – Iowa State University received a $100,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as part of the foundation’s Heartland Challenge. The grant will support the creation of a coordinated educational event series across John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers and other campus economic development units in Iowa to better prepare university-affiliated entrepreneurs for launch and investment.

Iowa State’s Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa, was one of 17 organizations from across the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas selected by the Kauffman Foundation to receive funding through The Heartland Challenge. Grantees will work to solve for specific challenges entrepreneurs in the region face, and will participate in facilitated, peer-learning communities of practice to share knowledge across the region.

Specifically, Iowa State will work on building cross-university programs that increase knowledge related to securing research and development funding and commercializing available technology in order to start new businesses.

“Entrepreneurship represents an opportunity for this region to reverse a decades-long trend of economic decline,” said Melissa Roberts Chapman, senior program officer in entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “Creating more equitable ecosystems, revitalizing rural communities and accelerating [intellectual property]-driven business creation are three things we can do to ensure that starting a business in the Heartland isn’t harder than it has to be. In fact, the only way we can regain momentum in the cities and rural areas of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, is to work together to meet the challenges ahead of us.”

“We are excited to have the opportunity to engage again with the Kauffman Foundation,” said Judi Eyles, director of Iowa State’s Pappajohn Center. “We look forward to working together with our Iowa economic development partners and institutions across the Midwest to share best practices in creating entrepreneurial opportunities for science- and technology-oriented faculty, staff and community members. Our plan is for this effort to culminate in an interactive Heartland Entrepreneur, Educator and Investor event in spring 2021.”

Established in 1996 as one of five entrepreneurial centers based at Iowa universities and colleges, Iowa State’s Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship serves as a bridge among the university’s entrepreneurship courses, experiential learning opportunities and venture creation resources. For more information, visit

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to increase opportunities that allow all people to learn, to take risks, and to own their success. The Kauffman Foundation is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and uses its $2 billion in assets to collaboratively help people be self-sufficient, productive citizens. For more information, visit


The Iowa State University Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization committed to securing and managing gifts that benefit Iowa State University. The Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, with a historic goal to raise $1.5 billion, will help support Iowa State in becoming the premier land-grant university for the 21st century and beyond.


Judi Eyles,
Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, Iowa State University, 515.296.6754,

Elaine Watkins-Miller,
communications, Iowa State University Foundation, 515.294.1005,