Application: Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition

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 the 2020-21 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).

How to apply: 

Students will need to submit an executive summary, a one-page Business Model Canvas, and financial projections to the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center closest to their home institution.

Regional John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers:

Ready to apply?  Look for the application towards the bottom of this page!

Timeline of Competition

April 4, 2021 –All applications due

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

April 5 to April 14, 2021 – 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 16, 2021 –Up to 15 Teams Selected to Advance

April 28, 2021 –Final Statewide Competition/Awards ($5,000), tentatively set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Des Moines, Iowa

Regional award winners will give a pitch presentation (including pitch 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.