Iowa State University Student Awarded Second Place in the 40th Annual CEO Global Pitch Competition in Tampa

Iowa State University Student Awarded Second Place in the 40th Annual CEO Global Pitch Competition in Tampa

13 Iowa State University students standing together on stage in front of a banner that reads "CEO - The Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization - Creating a World of Opportunities."

From L to R: Aaron McKee, Blake Price, Ashutosh Sahu, Zackry Brannen, Jean Walsh, Rayane Kadri, Maddy Ladehoff, Cameryn Schafer Reiman, Andrew Walton, Isaac Bradford, Caleb Thompson, Andrew Nguyen, Phillip Gorni, Dakota Belling, Sam Dilocker.

AMES, Iowa (November 15, 2023) – The entrepreneurial excellence of Iowa State University students was evident at the 40th annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) global conference and pitch competition in Tampa, Florida, from November 2-4. ISU Pappajohn Center staff, Jean Walsh and Sam Dilocker accompanied 13 students from the Entrepreneur Club to the conference.

Themed “From Classroom to Boardroom,” this year’s conference provided a unique platform for students to engage with fellow entrepreneurs, investors, and business mentors from around the world. Keynote and breakout sessions focused on the transformative journey of converting academic knowledge into real-world successes.

A Global Achievement

Out of hundreds of venture ideas submitted for the highly competitive pitch competition, Iowa State University had six students selected among the top 100. These semi-finalists included: Cam Reiman Schaefer (NutriCubes), Dakota Belling (Bovi-Jet), Andrew Nguyen (Chingu BBQ), Andrew Walton (Morbid Living), Phillip Gorni (Safety Scan), and Shawn Davis (Kaiser Aerospace).

Iowa State University student entrepreneur holding a $6,000 check after winning second place in a global pitch competition.

Dakota Belling of Bovi-Jet with his winnings at the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization conference.

Dakota Belling and Andrew Walton moved on in the competition, securing spots among the top 20 semi-finalists. They had the opportunity to present their business ideas live before a panel of judges. Dakota Belling made it into the finals and was awarded second place overall, earning $6,000 in funding to put towards Bovi-Jet. Belling has participated in the CYstarters accelerator, ISU Startup Factory incubator, and numerous pitch competitions all conducted by the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.

The CEO conference is known for showcasing exceptional students in entrepreneurship at the university level, making this a significant achievement for the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and Iowa State University. Congratulations to Dakota Belling and all the students who participated in the global competition.

About the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

Since 1996, the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship has been a cornerstone for Iowa State students, faculty, alumni, and local innovators. Offering entrepreneurship programming, pitch competitions, and resources like the ISU Startup Factory incubator and the CYstarters accelerator, we provide the tools and support you need to kickstart your startup, connect with experienced entrepreneurs, and access valuable business training. For all your entrepreneurial aspirations, the ISU Pappajohn Center is your one-stop destination.