Venture School

University of Iowa Mason City Cohort

Bring your idea to life with Venture School

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center has partnered with the University of Iowa to bring Venture School to Mason City, Iowa. Venture School is the state of Iowa’s premiere entrepreneurial training program. Established in 2013, the eight-week Venture School program is built from a streamlined curriculum developed by the National Science Foundation I-Corps at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Since its inception, Venture School has helped guide over 250 teams across the state of Iowa, and is designed to benefit Iowa startups, small businesses, non-profits, and corporate innovation teams. While Venture School is designed primarily for start-ups, it also has value for non-profits and businesses looking to introduce a new product or to expand into new territories.

Participants will gain marketing and make valuable connections to help them take their innovative idea to the next level. Venture School is currently looking for hardworking teams and individuals throughout the North Iowa and Southern Minnesota regions to join the upcoming spring program.


Venture School is an opportunity for North Iowa’s business leaders and experts in the field to connect with new entrepreneurs. Mentoring is a valuable experience for both mentors and mentees. For more information about becoming a mentor, join us at one of the Venture School  Information Sessions on January 14 and 15.

More about the program


  • Bring focus and agility to your business idea.
  • Test and prove your business hypothesis through guided customer discovery for product-market fit.
  • Learn from top entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and instructors.
  • Gain valuable connections with local communities and external groups that will help you get the resources you need to grow.
  • Create a business model that is both strategic and tactical through an evidence-based approach, whether you are a profit or non-profit entity.
  • All teachings are applicable to virtually all industries and company levels, whether you are a true startup or an early stage existing business.


Cost: A team of up to three members will cost $299. Every additional team member that joins the cohort will be an additional $99. However, many monetary awards can be won at the end of the program!

When: Tuesdays, February 19 – April 9, 2019

Time: 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Where: NIACC Pappajohn Center Room #117

Application Deadline: February 4, 2019

Is Venture School right for you?

Attend an informational session to learn more about the upcoming Mason City cohort. The session will be led by Kurt Heiar (Venture School Director), Tim Putnam (NIACC Pappajohn Center Director), and Brook Boehmler (North Iowa Area SBDC Director).

Venture School is now accepting applications to participate in its spring 2019 program. Find out more and apply at