CYstarters Spotlight: Alana Corwin

By Lindsey Murray | ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

CYstarters Spotlight: A 14-part series highlighting student entrepreneurs pursuing their business ventures as part of the CYstarters 2024 summer cohort. Through this program, students have the unique opportunity to prioritize the development of their own startup or business idea. Each individual receives $6,500 and access to resources such as mentorship, networking opportunities, and educational sessions on entrepreneurship and business startup. 

Alana Corwin: Shaping Mental Wellness with Apricity

Headshot taken by Shayla Timm at Belle Brand Artistry, another member of CYstarters cohort 9.

Alana Corwin, a junior at Iowa State University, is taking a different approach to mental health support with her business, Apricity. Majoring in Entrepreneurship with double minors in Human Development and Family Sciences, and Hospitality Management, Alana is combining her academic background with a deep-seated passion for helping others.

Apricity, named after an obsolete Latin term meaning “the warmth of the sun on a cold winter’s day,” aims to provide comfort and hope to individuals struggling with mental health disorders. The business offers mental health and well-being workbooks designed to supplement traditional care. These workbooks are not meant to replace therapy but to serve as an accessible, on-demand resource for individuals waiting for professional help.

Alana’s drive to make a difference is evident. “One of the things that excites me about life is being able to help people and make a change to society. I’m really passionate about getting to know people, hearing their stories, and learning about what makes them unique and what makes them human. So, incorporating that passion for people into my business is really important to me,” she shares.

Her long-term vision for Apricity is ambitious: she hopes to one day create a café that integrates therapy services, providing a welcoming space where people can enjoy a cup of coffee while speaking to a counselor. This concept aims to further bridge the gap in mental health care.

Alana’s entrepreneurial journey began with a childhood lemonade stand, but it didn’t stop there. Originally majoring in Hospitality Management, she envisioned creating a holistic resort for individuals exiting mental health hospitalizations. However, her focus shifted to developing Apricity, maintaining her dedication to mental health.

Her perspective on entrepreneurship has evolved over the years. “Growing up, I had a very limited understanding of business. I always had a picture in my head of the big, evil, businessman. But what I’ve learned is that entrepreneurship is about solving problems and offering solutions to those who are struggling,” Alana reflects.

Alana’s introduction to entrepreneurship at Iowa State came through a chance meeting with Megan Graettinger, Assistant Director at the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, during ISU Day at the Capitol. Encouraged by Megan, Alana pitched her idea, then called Helix, in the College-by-College Pitch Off and later was accepted into the CYstarters program. Through CYstarters, Alana has rebranded her business to Apricity, aligning its name with her vision and values.

Apricity’s curriculum, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is being developed with help from Dr. Aime Zarling, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at ISU. The curriculum includes physical workbooks and access to an online database of lessons, recordings, and information from specialists in various fields. Alana’s connection with Dr. Zarling, established during a course on the Science and Practice of Happiness, has been invaluable in shaping Apricity.

Despite facing challenges like rebranding, Alana remains optimistic. “Honestly, this rebrand felt kind of like a loss. But I’ve come to realize that this is really more of an opportunity for a fresh start and to come back stronger than before,” she says. Her goals for the summer include securing her LLC and B Corp certification, finalizing the curriculum, and developing a marketing plan.

Alana’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurship is obvious.

She values the support from CYstarters, stating, “I’m receiving so much help through CYstarters that I’m not worried about reaching these goals. I’m constantly bouncing ideas off of others, and there are always people giving me pointers and cheering me on.”

Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is simple : “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and learning lessons as you go. Don’t be afraid of imposter syndrome. You belong in a space just as much as anybody else, no matter where you are in starting your business.”

Alana invites the Ames community to support CYstarters cohort 9 on Demo Day, an opportunity for venture teams to pitch their businesses and share their progress. “Let’s support our CYstarters and celebrate their successes together!” she encourages.

Be sure to join the Ames community in supporting CYstarters cohort 9 on Demo Day! Demo Day is an opportunity for each of our CYstarters venture teams to pitch their business and share the progress they have made over the summer. The event is open to the public. Please register at Let’s support our CYstarters and celebrate their successes together!