COVID-19 Update:

We have had several questions regarding this competition and if we are still planning to host the Iowa Innovation Challenge amid the spread of COVID-19 (Cornavirus).

Iowa JPEC still plans to host this competition and award all funds during the month of April. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to monitor the changing developments of COVID-19 and will make adjustments to the competition as needed. At this time, we are planning to move all in-person pitches for finalists to be virtual pitches. Applicants will be alerted of any changes made to the competition, once our finalists have been selected.

Individuals/Teams interested in participating in this competition should apply as normal, before the deadline of April 3.

If you have any questions, please reach out to

This page contains information for UI undergrad students interested in participating in the Iowa Innovation Challenge.

*If you are UI faculty, staff, graduate student, or incubator startup please see this page for additional information.
*If you are a program or academic alumni of UI please visit this page for additional information.


Information for UI Undergrad Students

  • $74,000 in prizes available
  • Applications will be reviewed and 20 student finalists will be selected to advance and pitch to judges on April 13
  • All finalists will receive $1,000 for advancing
  • Finalist will be given coaching and guidance on how to prepare for their pitch.

Apply today


A five-page maximum executive summary will be submitted as a part of the application process and is due March 27. This summary should include:

  • Problem and solution
  • Value proposition
  • Customer segments
  • Revenue to date
  • Financial potential
  • Current Status and milestones achieved
  • Use of proceeds
  • Validation using Lean Startup Methodology

For reference on format, please visit the following links:
PDF From Workshop held for competition on 2/28


  • Must be UI undergraduate student currently enrolled in 6 s.h. or more.
  • Individual signing up and pitching must be a Founder/Co-Founder and/or have equal or controlling interest in the business.
  • Businesses of all levels are accepted.



Twenty finalists will be selected to pitch in the Iowa Innovation Challenges' Business Model Competition on April 13. Once finalists are notified, additional details regarding the competition will be sent to them. All finalists will receive $1,000 for advancing to the final round of the competition.


  • Best Technology/High Growth Business ($10,000 | $5,000 | $3,000)
  • Best Non-Technology Business ($3,500 | $2,500 | $1,000)
  • Best Retail Business ($3,500 | $2,500 | $1,000)
  • Best Social Impact ($3,500 | $2,500 | $1,000)
  • Best Lifestyle Business ($3,500 | $2,500 | $1,000)
  • (4) Honorable Mention ($2,000 each)
  • (20) Finalists advancing to pitch on 4/13 ($1,000 each)

*Please Note: Prizes over a set amount ($2,000 for faculty, staff, graduate students, and incubator startups | $1,000 for undergraduate students) will not be paid until the individual(s)/team meet with a member of Iowa JPEC leadership or UI Ventures to discuss how the funds will be used. Significant prizes will be distributed when set milestones are met by the individual(s)/team as agreed upon in this meeting.


Twenty finalists will be notified and given more information regarding the format and what is required of them. You will also have the opportunity to meet with Iowa JPEC staff prior to the competition to practice your pitch.


  • 5 minutes pitch with slide deck (slides will be turned in ahead of time)
  • 10 minutes Q & A
  • Prototypes, photos, handouts, etc. are also allowed

Next Steps

Applications for the spring Iowa Innovation Challenge Business Model Competition are due on April 5, 2020.

 Contact us Apply today