University of Iowa Venture School accepting applications to put Iowa back on the map

By August 14, 2017

The University of Iowa Venture School is a renowned statewide program for budding entrepreneurs.

It is now accepting applications for its fall program in Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, and Des Moines.

For residents who do not live in one of those three cities, there is an additional option to apply to an online version of the program.

Established by the university’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) in 2013, the program aims to provide hands-on experience to the brightest and most determined minds in the community, and foster entrepreneurial spirit within the state.

The eight-week program, designed according to the official National Science Foundation I-Corps curriculum, intends to train entrepreneurs how to turn their ideas into reality and master the startup process through real-world experimentation.

As a participant, you can expect to define your target market, develop a proper business model, and partake in networking opportunities with the decision makers who can thrust your idea forward — all while being guided under the wing of the program’s 150+ mentors.

It is no secret that the Midwest has been making its bid as a startup hub to be reckoned with, but not all states have experienced the same level of growth. According to a recent publication by M25 Group, an early stage micro-VC fund based in Chicago, Iowa is falling behind its Midwestern counterparts in regard to the startup scene.


In the rankings, Iowa was one of two (out of 14) midwestern states that did not land any of its cities in the top 25 of the rankings – the other state was South Dakota. That is not to say, however, that the state is far behind; Iowa was almost able to break in with Des Moines ranking at 27, Iowa City at 28, and Ames at 34.

Referencing the rankings, Director of M25 Group, Mike Asem, shared a positive outlook for the state, writing, “We’ve met a lot of great folks doing exciting things in our time in Iowa, and won’t be surprised at all if we see 1 or 2 of these cities slip into the top-25 this time next year.”

Programs such as Venture School will play a crucial role moving forward in helping the state catch up with places like Ohio that have been drawing a lot of attention recently.

Applications will be accepted until September 18. The cost of the program is $299 plus $99 for each additional member of your team. To apply and review additional information, visit the Venture School website.

Since its inception in 2013, Venture School has trained nearly 600 entrepreneurs spread across more than 230 teams. In addition, it proudly boasts a network of over 150 mentors to help get your ideas off the ground and grow your businesses.