Wellmark Community Venture Capital Fund

The Wellmark Community Venture Capital Fund

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has committed up to $5 million to four John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers in Iowa to fund the start up of Iowa businesses. The $5 million is part of $25 million Wellmark pledged in 2002 to designate for Iowa-based economic development opportunities.

Wellwellmark_vilsackmark and Equity Dynamics announce $5 Million in Venture Funding for Iowa Businesses

Pictured (l to r): Tom Vilsack, Governor of Iowa; John Forsyth, Chairman and CEO of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield; Labh Hira, Former Dean of the Iowa State University Ivy College of Business; John Pappajohn, President of Equity Dynamics Inc.; and Steve Carter,  Former Director of the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.


Regional Application and Assistance Process
Venture projects will be identified, investigated and recommended to Wellmark by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers in four locations. The centers are available to both receive applications and to assist companies applying for funding. Assistance may also be obtained at any of the 15 Iowa Small Business Development Centers. Entrepreneurs may submit applications to one of the four regional centers:  Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa, North Iowa Area Community College.

Contact information can be found within the Wellmark application below:

Wellmark Community Venture Fund Application

Iowa State University Criteria

Each regional center may impose additional criteria as each Center best feels meets the needs for their particular region. Although all kinds of projects will be considered for Wellmark funding through the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center, projects with the following characteristics will be given higher priority:

  • Technological advancement in the areas of biotechnology, materials science, optics, electronics, nanotechnology, human or animal health and nutrition, agriscience, information technology, computer hardware or other science and technology areas.
  • Intellectual property (patents or trade secrets) that will create barriers to entry for competitors.  Businesses that within five years have the potential to be regional, national or international in scope.
  • Projects that have the characteristics to attract private equity capital at some point in the future.