Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hundreds of University of Iowa faculty, staff, students, and friends gathered at hotelVetro last Friday, April 26, to celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship across campus at the inaugural Hawkeye Innovation Summit.

The program recognized the UI community’s passion for entrepreneurship and brought together an influential and creative community of peers for a half-day celebration highlighting best practices for university technology transfer and a Ventures@UI Showcase, where attendees learned about resources available to them and heard directly from UI faculty, staff, and student startup founders about “how they did it.” The day also included keynote speakers, a luncheon, and awards ceremony.

Keynote speakers at the event included, John Pappajohn, Iowa venture capitalist and benefactor of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, who spoke on his lifelong experience as an entrepreneur, and Gary Seamans, CEO of UI spinout, IDx, and benefactor of the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences, who shared his experience as an “intrapreneur” in executive roles within corporate America.

Reflecting on the keynote addresses, Daniel Reed, UI vice president for research and economic development, noted, “Mr. Pappajohn and Mr. Seamans embody the entrepreneurial spirit we hope to foster—that enterprising spirit that translates dreams into invention and societal benefit. This is just one of many activities we have planned at the university and in the surrounding community to further foster an environment where peoples’ ideas can flourish.”

The program concluded with an awards ceremony to recognize the UI’s outstanding faculty, staff, and students who strive for excellence in their inventions and new ventures. Nearly $200K in seed grants were awarded to spring competition winners, including Memcine Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Tutor Universe Inc., who were named UI’s Startup of the Year and Student Startup of the Year, respectively. For a full list of spring competition winners, please visit www.iowajpec.org/competitions/Spring2013_Winners.cfm.

“The Hawkeye Innovation Summit was a great experience. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to network with other successful UI entrepreneurs and hear their stories. Tutor Universe is delighted to have received the honor of Startup of the Year; we would not be where we are today without the tremendous amount of support and resources the university has provided,” said Thomas Hornbeck, founder of Tutor Universe.

The annual Hawkeye Innovation Summit is hosted in collaboration with UI’s Office of Vice President for Research and Economic Development, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, Research Foundation, Research Park, and Small Business Development Center.