Speed up your Success this summer!

CYstarters is an 11-week summer accelerator for Iowa State students or recent graduates to focus on their startup or business idea.  Students will receive $6,500 for individual or up to $13,000 per student team for the opportunity to spend their summer dedicated to achieving their startup goals and pursuing entrepreneurial aspirations.  The selection process is competitive, with only a limited number of spots for the summer accelerator. 

Who is CYstarters for?

  • Currently enrolled Iowa State University undergraduate and graduate students OR recent Iowa State graduates, graduating no less than 6 months prior to start of the summer accelerator.
  • The program is open to individuals or student teams applying for their startup or business idea.
  • Open to all majors, classifications, and part-time or full-time enrollment at Iowa State University (do not need to be enrolled during summer session).

What can you expect?

  • Learn & Grow from educational sessions and panel sessions on topics ranging from Customer Discovery, Building Your Revenue Model, Storyselling & Marketing, Entrepreneurial Finance, Building Power Teams, and more!
  • Pitch opportunities to practice and refine your pitch while in front of the right audience to further your startup’s momentum.
  • It’s all about who you know – engage and meet the Startup Ames community through specially hosted networking events.
  • Experience the new ISU Economic Development Core Facility (at ISU Research Park).  Talk about beautiful workspace!
  • Join in weekly accountability meetings with Pappajohn Center staff, advisers and mentors.
  • And don’t forget, you can get paid during your summer to work on your startup!  $6,500 for individuals or $13,000 per student team.

When does it start/end?

CYstarters is an 11-week program with the following start/end dates:

Starts the week of May 17, 2021.

Ends the week of July 30, 2021.

Start the CYstarters application here!

Have a question about the application or program?  Attend the 2021 CYstarter Info Sessions:

February 16 at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom | Register here!

March 3 at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom | Register here!

Deadline to apply for CYstarters 2021 is Monday, March 8 at midnight.

Looking to get involved?  Join the CYstarters’ Mentor Network, click here!

Who’s talking about it…

CYstarters has been my best experience at ISU, hands down.  In fact, it might very well be the single pivoting point in my career.  The support I got in CYstarters has equipped and encouraged me to take risks and challenge myself in all the way that scare me, but deep down thrill and fuel me.

-Jake Oswald, co-founder of Our Anthology

CYstarters is a great next step for student-related startups.  Having collaborative work space, mentorship, and funding has allowed KinoSol to have an even bigger chance at success.

-Mikayla Sullivan, co-founder of KinoSol


From idea swapping, celebrating successes and being there for each other during setbacks – the other students in CYstarters have made this experience worth it.   CYstarters is a program that empowers you to take risk and learn through real-world experiences has helped me and my business grow.

-Steven Brockshus, founder of Terva

Checkout the pictures from both 2016, 2017, and 2018 CYstarters cohorts!


I loved everyday of the CYstarter program.  I would do it over and over if it was allowed!  Everyone in and out of the program that helped were truly amazing people.

-John Clark, co-founder of True 360



The CYstarters program helped me grow not only my business, but also as a person.  The best part of the CYstarters program was definitely getting connected with everyone (other CYstarters, staff, and mentors).  I made great connections to help build RenterGate, as well as made some new friends.  Oh, and the Research Park building is a great space to work out of!   -Brady Trent, founder of RenterGate

Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!  CYstarters and everyone involved really helped me kick thing up a notch and helped make my business actually come to life.  Without the help and resources to completely dedicate to my business, I know this summer wouldn’t have been nearly as successful.  -Megan Sweere, founder of Home Sweet College Home

The CYstarters program was an amazing experience and I learned so much about business and what I need to do to be successful.

-Dillon Hurd, founder of Hurd Health Group



For questions about the program or how you can get involved, reach out to Diana Wright at

Looking to get involved?  Join the CYstarters’ Mentor Network, click here!

Follow along by reading our blog!