The Rose Francis Elevator Pitch Competition is held annually in the fall and is open to all University of Iowa students serious about starting and growing a business. Student presenters will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to a group of business professionals and receive feedback. There are two days of competition.

  • DAY ONE is for early stage companies
    • Have NOT achieved revenue  (OR)
    • Have NOT won $1,001 or more in business competitions
    • The winner of Day 1 will advance to compete in Day 2
  • DAY TWO is for established companies
    • Have achieved revenue (OR)
    • Have previously won $1,001 or more in business competitions

How It Works

Student businesses participating on Day 1 will be given two minutes to pitch followed by a two minute of questions from the judges. Student businesses participating on Day 2 will be given two minutes to pitch with six minutes of questions from the judges following. Both days do not allow the use of presentation materials (i.e. PowerPoint) when pitching. Student businesses may use props at their own discretion, but no extra time will be allotted for setup. 


A total of $50,000 in cash prizes will be awarded throughout the two day competition. This competition is co-sponsored by Iowa JPEC and the Starman Foundation.

Prize money is intended to be used to support the business, not the individual. Winners on Day 2 may be required to complete a high level plan for how the money will be used. Leaders of Iowa JPEC  will be following up with winners to ensure and enable the effective use of the seed capital. For some of the larger awards, half of the money may be awarded soon after the competition and the other half awarded after initial milestones are met.


  • Presenters must be enrolled in a class (undergrad, grad or Phd) within the University of Iowa and have a controlling interest in the company. A controlling interest for these purposes means the student must own all of the company or an equal portion to any other co-founder(s). If there is more than one owner of the company, the presenter(s) for the competition must be a University of Iowa student. Up to four representatives of the company may be in the room for presentations but only University of Iowa students may present.
  • If you have previously placed and been awarded funds of $5,000 or greater for your venture at a prior Iowa JPEC Rose Francis Elevator Pitch Competition you are NOT eligible to compete in this competition again for the same venture.


Check back in early Fall 2019 for the next Rose Francis Elevator Pitch Competition! 

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