Entrepreneurship at Iowa Blog
Daily news from around the JPEC community
UI completes economic development leadership team
Monday, December 16, 2013
David Conrad will spearhead UI’s engagement with industry statewide
The University of Iowa has completed assembling its leadership team to guide its economic development activities in Iowa.
David Conrad joined the UI last month as the economic development director in the Office of Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED). He will direct the UI’s engagement activities throughout the Hawkeye State, including workforce training and spurring new and expanded partnerships between the university and industry.
Conrad comes from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was associate vice chancellor for technology development. In that role, he established university-industry partnerships and created an entrepreneur-in-residence program, among other achievements.
“I am pleased to welcome David to our leadership team at the UI,” says Daniel Reed, the UI’s vice president for research and economic development. “He brings talent, ideas, and a wealth of experience that will serve us well as we make good on our pledge to have a more robust engagement with Iowa in economic development, entrepreneurism, refreshing worker job skills and partnering with businesses of all sizes statewide.”
Conrad says he’s excited to return to Iowa and take part in advancing the economic development agenda. He founded a software startup company, called Emerjent, Inc., in Ames in the mid-2000s and was a licensing associate for the Iowa State University Research Foundation from 2004 to 2006.
“Part of my job now is making university resources and programs even more accessible to Iowa companies,” Conrad says. “That means making visits and setting up relevant programs companies can easily take advantage of. Through university-industry partnerships, the UI can help create new companies, make existing ones more competitive and improve economic conditions across Iowa.”
One initiative Conrad pointed to is assembling faculty-led teams to assist small- and medium-sized companies in Iowa with addressing information-technology issues. Those teams are expected to travel regularly throughout the state to offer hands-on guidance, beginning next year.
Conrad earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University. He is the inventor on six issued patents.
He joins David Hensley, associate vice president for economic development, and Reed in the leadership team within OVPR&ED. Reed joined the UI last fall, coming from Microsoft, where he directed emerging technologies. Since his arrival, Reed has traveled throughout the state, learning about economic development strengths and opportunities in the state and developing strategic plans to leverage university resources and personnel to stimulate job growth, entrepreneurism and industry partnerships in Iowa.
Venture School Coming to Des Moines
Friday, December 13, 2013
Many entrepreneurship courses focus on teaching students “how to write a business plan.” The University of Iowa’s Venture School is teaching entrepreneurs how to test their assumptions through customer discovery in order to build a scalable business model.
Venture School will begin on February 3, 2014 with a three day workshop. This will be followed by four weekly meetings where teams present their customer discovery finding for the week and discuss topics in a flipped class room style. To close out the program there will be a two day wrap-up workshop in which teams review funding opportunities, learn about incorporation and IP issues, as well as, what VC and Angel Investors are looking for. The program concludes with teams delivering their final pitches and a networking celebration.
Lead instructor of Venture School is Kurt Heiar. Mr. Heiar has been the President & CEO of three early stage companies and an established executive having raised capital for multiple companies, led a successful acquisition, and forged corporate alliances for start-ups. He and the teaching team guides Venture School participants through the art of customer discovery, distribution channels and how to determine a revenue model by relying on personal experiences.
“The customer discovery and iterative design process that we are learning in Venture School will have a direct impact on my own personal research methodology. What this process has taught me is the importance of vetting your idea on the front end through customer discovery interviews and an iterative design process. This approach will save me time and money which are just as critical in the research world as they are in the business world.” Lucas Carr, PhD – University of Iowa
“Having owned my own business for twenty years, I had no idea how valuable New Venture School would be with our new start up. It is making us do what we need to do, to get to the next stage. The lessons learned will be invaluable as we continue to develop our business and continue to focus on the customer.” Kimm Harris, President – IPC of Iowa
History of Venture School
The program was designed after the National Science Foundation (NSF), Lean LaunchPad program through partnerships with the Iowa Centers for Enterprise and Michigan I-Corps. Michigan I-Corps is an NSF Node and has created opportunities for teams throughout the state of Michigan to turn their technology into commercial opportunities. The first Venture School began this fall in Iowa City with seven teams from the Corridor. Team ideas consisted of highly technical and scientific ideas from University faculty, as well as, new software technology from community members and UI students.
Venture School goes Statewide
With the Des Moines cohort, Venture School plans to take its curriculum statewide to foster and grow an innovation ecosystem and give entrepreneurs across the state access to University of Iowa resources. Plans are being made for a summer cohort and partnership with area community colleges.
December 13, 2013
Contact: Jennifer Ott, 319-353-2791
Tutor Universe founders join Silicon Valley program, develop mobile app
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Three-day Venture School returns to Des Moines February 2014
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
TelePharm expands company vision, will appear at mHealth Summit
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Tapping the Creative Well
Monday, December 2, 2013
JPEC accepting applications for Dev/Iowa Bootcamp
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Where public meets private: A look at state funding of entrepreneurship
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Full stack web development bootcamp Jan. 13-March 14
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The University of Iowa is offering a full stack web development bootcamp on campus from Jan. 13-March 14. The program is aimed at professionals and the public and will take place at Thinc Collaboration Space, 122 E. Market St., Iowa City.
The nine week Dev/Iowa Bootcamp intends to deliver a strong web development foundation and hands-on experience for its students in an immersive, flipped classroom style. The program will require 50 hours a week of work and a certificate will be available to students at the end.
Dev/Iowa Bootcamp will be under the direction of Thomas Hansen and with support from industry experts, students will learn web development concepts and technologies, including programming and web fundamentals, frontend techniques like HTML and CSS, backend essentials such as databases and APIs, as well as best practices like Agile, version control and collaboration tools.
Applications are now being accepted. To be successful in the program students will need to come with some basic technology skills and a hunger to learn and problem solve.
Cost for the nine week course is $5,000 and there is tuition assistance available. For more information, visit www.iowajpec.org/entrepreneur-support/deviowa/.
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