Three North Iowa Student Entrepreneurs Advance to the 2024 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition Finals

Three students representing North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) competed in Round 1 of the 2024 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition and advanced to the Finals. The competition was held during the Student Entrepreneurship Conference at Drake University in Des Moines, IA on April 5-6, 2024.

The three NIACC student entrepreneurs competing in Round are:

  • Catherine Dow – Instatat
  • Elic Fjetland – Kul Box
  • Caleb Renner – Renner Ag Solutions and the AgriNet

Each of the student entrepreneurs won $500 in Round 1, and will compete in the Finals for a chance to win $5,000. Sponsored by John Pappajohn, Equity Dynamics, Inc., the competition is intended for Iowa university and college students with an interest in starting their own business. Plans are judged based on a) Content of Plan and b) Viability of business idea. Three (3) seed grants in the amount of $5,000 are awarded to the top three students statewide. In addition, all finalists who compete will receive $500. Finalists will present on April 22, 2023 at the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center in Des Moines, IA.

The inaugural Student Entrepreneurship Conference was held in partnership between the NIACC and Drake University John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers. The conference featured several workshops and seminars led by Iowa entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders. North Iowa entrepreneurs Jayson Ryner (ReEnvision Ag; Nora Springs, IA) and Billie Asmus (RePaint Studios; Hampton, IA) led workshops during the conference. Ryner hosted a session on Financial Projections. Asmus hosted a session titled The Other Side of Entrepreneurship. The conference also provided student entrepreneurs the opportunity to network and participate in a design challenge led by Hank Norem, CIO of Sukup Innovations, at Maple Studios in West Des Moines. Six NIACC CEO Club students attended the competition and conference.

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is the expert in rural business innovation and success. In partnership with North Iowa’s Small Business Development Center, together we provide tools, support, and resources to Iowa’s entrepreneurs. We counsel both new and existing local businesses, from Main Street to industry leaders. We’re growing Iowa’s entrepreneurial culture through grade school initiatives, college and community programs, and business training and development. Contact the NIACC Pappajohn and SBDC Center at 641-422-4342 or

NIACC student Cat Dow presents her business, InstaTat
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