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


  • Deadline to apply is March 27
  • $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
  • Winners will be announced at the Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors on April 23.
  • 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
  • Financial potential
  • Current Status and milestones achieved
  • Use of proceeds
  • Validation using Business Model Canvas process


  • 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.


A workshop will be held on February 28 at PBB W107 at 11:30am. Please attend for information on how to successfully apply and compete in this competition. 



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. The winners will be announced at the Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors on April 23.


  • 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 March 27, 2020.

 Contact us Apply today