Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The University of Iowa is encouraging the state’s young people to develop new businesses by co-sponsoring a competition that will award cash prizes to the best ideas from Iowa high school student entrepreneurs.

The Quick Pitch Biz Competition is co-sponsored by accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young and will award $2,000 to the high school student entrepreneur who has the best existing business or idea for a new business.

“This is an opportunity for the university to support young entrepreneurs and business builders who have innovative new ideas and let young people know that ideas they come up with can really mean something,” says Dawn Bowlus, director of the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in the UI’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC).

The winner will also receive an all expenses paid trip to Ernst & Young’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year Award ceremony in Kansas City June 5. The second place student business will receive $1,500, third place receives $1,000 and three honorable mentions will receive $500 each.

Bowlus says the competitions judges—faculty members in the UI Tippie College of Business and JPEC—will analyze the viability of the business idea and content of their business plan.

“We’re looking for creative ideas that have traction, like an existing business with a track record or a business idea that has the potential to go from start-up to a viable business,” says Bowlus.

Contestants must submit an executive summary to the Jacobson Institute by Friday, May 11. The panel of judges will review the plans and invite the top five entrepreneurs to present an elevator pitch of up to five minutes the following week via Skype.

Winners will be notified later in the month. In addition, the school with the most applicants will receive a $1,000 grant to develop or expand its entrepreneurial education programs.

More information is available at