One Weekend, 3 Bold Challenges, An Abundance of Rewards

Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7, 2020

Location: Student Innovation Center

The ISU INNOVATION PRIZE is an incentive competition at Iowa State University that takes place on campus.  Students, faculty and staff, and the entrepreneurial community are invited to participate!  The Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative co-host the event.

The competition theme for the fifth annual event is Innovation at Iowa State.  There will be three focus areas for participants to solve:

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

    • Possible focus: 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 focus:  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 broader and 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!



Registration is required for the ISU INNOVATION PRIZE and full participation on Friday, November 6 through Saturday, November 7.
    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.
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Information Coming Soon.

Special thanks to our past sponsors:


  • BEST AgTech: $1,500
  • BEST EdTech: $1,500
  • BEST Global Impact: $1,500


Coaches + Mentors

James S. Altamirano

Sr Experience Design & Innovation Strategist, Principal (Sponsor)

Marcie Fahn

Program Coordinator, Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative (AgEI)


Judi Eyles

Director for ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship & CyBIZ Lab

Kevin Kimle

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


Tom Swartwood

Senior Instructor at Ivy College of Business/Entrepreneurship Fellow at ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

Diana Wright

Program Coordinator at ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship



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