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 Program and Academic Alumni interested in participating in the Iowa Innovation Challenge.

*If you are an undergrad student please see this page for additional information.
*If you are UI Faculty, Staff, Graduate Student, or Incubator Startup, please see this page for additional information.


Information for UI Program and Academic Alumni


  • $25,000 in prizes available
  • Applications will be reviewed and 10 finalists will be selected to advance to the competition and be reviewed by judges.
  • Top 3 finalists will all receive seed funding.
  • Now accepting applications!
  • We define "UI Program or Academic Alumni" as either have previously been enrolled as a student at UI, or having participated in an Iowa JPEC outreach program. These outreach programs include Venture School alumni, Business Consulting Clients, Small Business Development Center Clients, and businesses who employed a student intern through our Iowa Innovation Associates program.
  • This competition will provide free seed funding to winning teams - Iowa JPEC will not take any equity in your company if you are awarded funds.

Apply today


A five-page maximum executive summary will be submitted as a part of the application process and is due April 3. 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

A 60 second (max) video submission covering a subset of the above will also be required as a part of the application.


  • Must meet one of the following requirements:
    • Previously been enrolled as a student at UI
    • Be an alum of the Venture School program
    • Be a current or past Iowa JPEC Business Consulting Client
    • Be a current or past Small Business Development Center Client
    • Be a business who employed a student intern through our Iowa Innovation Associates program
  • Individual signing up and pitching must be a Founder/Co-Founder and/or have equal or controlling interest in the business.
  • This competition is designed to help advance early stage companies. All applicants must be pre or have limited revenue (investments and/or grants are allowed)

Next Steps

Applications for the spring Iowa Innovation Challenge Business Model Competition are due on April 3, 2020.

 Contact us Apply today