NIACC Stories

Pitch Perfect: Pappajohn Center hosts entrepreneurship competition

MASON CITY, Iowa – The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center hosted the Everyday Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition on Monday, November 13, 2023. The Everyday Entrepreneur Program is sponsored in conjunction with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), helping to provide access to entrepreneurial education and funding for students to take their businesses from an idea to a thriving enterprise. This innovative event offers vital assistance to student entrepreneurs by helping them craft their initial business models, refine their pitching skills, and gain access to invaluable mentoring and funding opportunities. The competition was open to all NIACC students (including concurrent enrolled students). Seven students competed in the Semi-Finals on Monday morning. Five students advanced to the Finals, which were held Monday November 13 at 12pm, and presented their business pitches to a panel of judges.

The winners of the Everyday Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition were:

First Prize $1250 – Bin Bladder, Caleb Renner (Klemme, IA). Bin Bladder brings safety and ingenuity to your grain bin with an innovative alternative to bin sweeps.

Second Prize $1000 – Henna with Cat, Catherine Dow (Clarksville, IA). Henna with Cat provides a comprehensive experience, bringing to light the beauty, cultural richness, and boundless artistic expression of henna, creating an avenue for self-discovery and cultural appreciation.

Third Prize $750 – Kul Box, Elic Fjetland (Clarion, IA). Kul Box is a mini insulated bag that helps prevent lip balm from melting in your car.

Honorable Mention $500 – FlipSight, Josh Hanson (Joice, IA). FlipSight is an AI-driven solution that allows clients to flip with insight, profit with foresight.

Honorable Mention $500 – Rivera Tech, Fabian Rivera (Rowan, IA). Rivera Tech provides trustworthy and cooperative service created to repair and service homeowners with HVAC units.

Semi-Finalist $250 – Mamba, Gabriela dos Santos de Medeiros (Brazil). Mamba is an aspirational apparel brand for athletes.

Semi-Finalist $250 – Prairie Education Agency, Casey Zuehl (St. Ansgar, IA). Prairie Education Agency offers a self-paced education environment utilizing AI to gather material to develop the skills for the workplace

The judging panel included: Matt Curtis of Wayne’s Ski & Cycle (Mason City), Cathy Rottinghaus of First Citizen’s Bank (Charles City), and Molly Watson of Home Style (Clear Lake).

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is the expert in rural business innovation and success. In partnership with North Iowa’s Small Business Development Center, together we provide tools, support, and resources to Iowa’s entrepreneurs. We counsel both new and existing local businesses, from Main Street to industry leaders. We’re growing Iowa’s entrepreneurial culture through grade school initiatives, college and community programs, and business training and development. Contact the NIACC Pappajohn Center at 641-422-4111 or

Pitch Perfect: Pappajohn Center hosts entrepreneurship competition
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