A two minute video pitch

IdeaStorm is an entry level video pitch competition across the University of Iowa’s campus that encourages students to share their innovative ideas, all while familiarizing themselves with the pitching process.  This event helps students to share their new, never heard before ideas without the requirements of a business plan or proposal. 

Does your idea solve a problem in a unique way? With IdeaStorm, all UI students are invited to share their business idea in two minutes or less.  A panel of judges will review the video pitches and the top ideas for each category will be awarded cash prizes to help take their idea to the next level.

Deadline to enter is Sept. 20, 2021.

  • All UI students are eligible to participate.

Here's how it works:

  • Students submit a 1-2 minute video describing the problem they see and how they plan to solve it.
  • As part of the submission, participants select which category their idea best fits in:  Health Initiatives, Creative Concepts, Common Good or Consumer Solutions (descriptions below).
  • A panel of judges will review the videos and select the top finalists for each category.
  • The winners of each category will be announced on Sept. 27 and will receive cash prizes.
  • In addition to cash prizes awarded by the judges, the top ideas will also be eligible to win a People’s Choice award.  Anyone can view the ideas for each category on the Iowa JPEC website and vote for their favorites.

Next Steps

Bet on yourself. Deadline to enter is Sept. 20.  Click below to enter.

Apply Now 

Idea Creation

Want to participate but don’t have an idea yet? This video walks you through exercises and other tips on how to come up with a business idea.

IdeaStorm Categories

Students submit a 1-2 minute video describing how their innovative idea solves a problem they see in the world.  Ideas can fall into 1 of four categories.  All video submissions are due Monday, Sept. 20. Winners of each category will be announced on Monday, Sept. 27.

Creating a better well-being through healthcare innovation

Competition focuses on new solutions to healthcare problems. Ideas may focus on a variety of aspects of healthcare, including mental health, dentistry, pharmacy, patient experiences, health outcomes, medical devices, public health and more.

Innovation through art, design, history, music and literature
Competition focuses on sharing new ideas within the world of art. Ideas may focus on a variety of creative mediums such as fine arts, fashion, design, music, history, literature and more.

Inspiring change through social and sustainable ideas to benefit the common good.

Competition focuses making the world a better and more sustainable place. Ideas may be connected to eco-friendly, sustainability, social justice, crisis management, natural disaster solutions, and much more.

Exploring solutions to everyday problems through new products or services.

Competition focuses on innovative solutions to everyday problems. The range for this competition is wide, and covers food products, household goods, living essentials, travel, technology and much more.

Cash prizes will be awarded for the top finalists in each category based on scoring from panel of judges.

Finalists for each category will be announced on the specified date and their videos will be posted on the Iowa JPEC website. People can watch these videos and vote on their favorite ideas. The winner of the People's Choice for each category will win additional cash prizes.

**Please note: Prizes will not be paid until the individual winner meets with a member of the Iowa JPEC team to discuss the potential of their idea and how Iowa JPEC can be of assistance to the student. Milestones may be required for larger prizes. Meetings will not take more than 15 minutes.   


IdeaStorms are open to every UI student and are entry level. No prior experience or preparation is needed!  There are only two requirements you must meet in order to pitch at an IdeaStorm competition.

  1. You must be a UI student currently enrolled in courses
  2. Your idea must be new.
    *Your idea cannot be a developed business that you have already been pursuing. If you have received revenue, funding, or professional support (including the Hawkeye Startup Incubator) for this specific idea it will not be eligible. If you are unsure if your idea is eligible or not, please contact


  • Familiarize yourself with the process of a pitch competition
  • Win cash prizes to help bring your idea to life
  • Get connected with the Hawkeye Startup Incubator and our student innovation programs

    Common Questions

    Q: If my business is too far along to pitch my idea at IdeaStorm, can I pitch a different idea?
    A: Absolutely, we encourage you to pitch any NEW idea you may have.

    Q: Can I submit my idea to more than one IdeaStorm category?
    A: Yes. If your idea fits with more than one category you can submit your video to multiple.

    Q: What if I don’t know which category to submit my idea to?
    A: Select the area you feel best represents your idea. If you are still unsure, please contact Jan Finlayson at

    Q: I've never done a pitch before - do you have any suggestions on a format to follow?
    A: IdeaStorm is specifically designed for students that have no pitching experience – you will fit right in. You do not need a presentation or to prepare ahead of time. Just use your phone, computer, laptop, or iPad to record a video of you explaining the problem that you see and your proposed solution in 2 minutes or less.

    "I heard about IdeaStorm from two students to my class. They shared about an opportunity to dream big, share visions, pitch ideas, build networks, and potentially win financing to help make my concept into a reality. All that at no cost! I was fascinated and found myself asking for more information. 

    I wasn't convinced my ideas were worth sharing as they were half-baked at best. But I decided to show up and watch some of my peers pitch. With some prompting from the host, I decided to share my idea. At the end of the night, I was amazed to find that I had received first place and was soon making connections with students and staff. I then learned about John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center's (JPEC) Innovation Challenge, Game Changer, and the Hawkeye Startup Incubator - which I joined to further develop my idea. 

    I can't stress enough how wonderful the opportunities available to students through the JPEC are. With the guidance of professional faculty, legal advisors, marketing experts, and creative co-founders, any prospective entrepreneur can't miss the opportunities available through JPEC. I'm excited to see what's next!"

    Kristoff Poole, Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing 

    How to Get Started

    We asked some of our students to put together some example pitch videos.  Watch and see just how easy it is to participate!

    First Steps

    1. Think about your idea and problem.
    2. Write and practice your pitch a couple of times.
    3. Optional:  If you would like, you may include 1 PowerPoint slide as part of your video pitch.
    4. Decide which IdeaStorm category your idea best fits into (Health Initiatives, Creative Concepts, Common Good, or Consumer Solutions).

    Pitch Formula (What to talk about)

    • What’s the problem you are trying to solve?
    • Give us a little story about it.
    • What is your solution to the problem?
    • Can you do it?  What do you need?

    Creating the Pitch Video

    • Record your video either on your computer or phone
    • Videos should be no longer than 2 minutes in length
    • Optional: You may use 1 PowerPoint slide as part of your pitch
    • Tips: Dress appropriately during video. Check camera angle and room location and do not have anything inappropriate in the background. Ensure microphone is working properly. One of the main issues we see on many videos is lighting.  Please try to make sure your filming area is not too dark and that we can see your face.

    Applying for the IdeaStorm Competition

    • When you have completed your video, upload it to YouTube.
    • Note:  As part of the application, you will include the URL for your pitch video uploaded to YouTube.  Please ensure that the link is NOT set to private so that the video can be viewed by our judges.  (Tip: If you want to keep your video hidden, mark it as “unlisted” NOT “private”.  An “unlisted” video will not be able to be found by those whom you have not shared a link with).

    Thank you to our generous sponsors

    Jay and Cindy Greenzweig and FORCE Communications | Health Initiatives IdeaStorm

    Michelle Bates and Ann Camblin | Common Good IdeaStorm

    Nicole and Curtis Strait | Consumer Solutions IdeaStorm