Growing Entrepreneurs in Iowa

A Collaborative Approach

John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers & Iowa Small Business Development Centers

For Iowa entrepreneurs, the need for resources and assistance is met through the collaborative approach of the Iowa Small Business Development Centers and the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers.

This shared method remains focused on helping each entrepreneur understand his or her unique set of opportunities and issues. Each interaction with an entrepreneur is carefully tailored to develop innovative and practical business growth strategies. The goal of these seventeen centers, with varied locations at Iowa universities, community colleges and within the communities is to assist in the creation of sustainable Iowa companies through their work with entrepreneurs across the state.

Many benefits result for the State of Iowa in supporting the education and development of Iowa entrepreneurs. Benefits include: increasing the number of Iowans inclined to start a new business in Iowa; diversifying and growing the Iowa economy through the creation and proliferation of firms engaged in advanced technologies; creating exciting employment opportunities for all Iowans – including our college and university graduates; and heightening awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities in Iowa, including ownership, investment and support.

Iowa entrepreneurs are provided a multitude of hands-on and easily accessible services each year. Here are some examples of the technical services and guidance being provided.

Business Start-up and Expansion Services:

    • One-on-one business counseling, business feasibility and business plan preparation
    • Educational programs, including JPEC Launch & Grow Your Business and many topical presentations related to starting and growing a business
    • Linkages to market research and other resources required for assessment and launch of a new venture
    • Mentoring and networking opportunities with successful entrepreneurs and service providers
    • Incubators and business accelerators

Technical Assistance:

    • Access to Iowa universities’ technology development resources
    • Tech transfer from university research
    • Intellectual property assessment and advice
    • Expertise in law, management, marketing, strategic planning, grant development, corporate structure, and more
    • Research and development funding sources

Access to Capital:

    • Seed and venture funds, including the Wellmark Venture Capital Fund, equity funds and local angel groups
    • Guidance to commercial lending and small business lending programs
    • Annual venture capital and entrepreneur conference
    • Extensive resource base of experienced business and investment expertise

Creating Entrepreneurial Communities and Regions:

    • Entrepreneurial development training and capacity building for local economic development groups
    • Rural entrepreneurship system – Farm to Market and MyEntreNet, which includes guidance for community empowerment
    • Participation on local, regional and statewide boards to promote entrepreneurship in Iowa
    • Successful incubator models

Entrepreneurial Education:  Educating the Next Generation

This collaborative approach provides one of the most extensive and nationally recognized student entrepreneurship programs in the country.

    • Majors and minors in entrepreneurship
    • Campus-wide entrepreneurship certificates
    • Student business incubators
    • Student business plan competitions
    • Entrepreneurial scholarships
    • Business internship scholarships
    • Speaker and lecture series
    • Internship programs
    • Online curriculum options
    • Annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Iowa Conference
    • Student learning communities
    • Student entrepreneur clubs
    • Student field study projects solving real business problems for Iowa companies
    • Entrepreneurial curriculum development
    • Teacher training and summer camps for high school, middle and elementary schools