Caleb Renner Wins Third Place Prize at 2024 Venture School Launch Day

Caleb Renner of Klemme, IA, took home Third Place at the 2024 University of Iowa’s Venture School Launch Day on June 13, 2024. Ten teams from across the state of Iowa competed in the event which was held at EntreFEST, a two-day entrepreneurial conference in Cedar Rapids, IA. A total of $37,000 in prize money was awarded.

Caleb Renner won the Third Place prize of $6,000 for his business, Renner Ag Solutions, and his invention, the AgriNet. The AgriNet provides a safe alternative to grain bin sweeps, eliminating the need for farmers to enter the grain bin during the clean-out process and saving both lives and limbs. Caleb is currently a student at NIACC. He is a graduate of the Venture School program at the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and has previously won 1st Place at the Spring 2024 North Iowa Cohort Venture School competition. Caleb was also a regional winner at the 2024 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition.

Candi Karsjens, Director of the NIACC Pappajohn Center, said, “EntreFest is such a great culminating event to celebrate the best Venture School graduates from across Iowa and really celebrates the spirit and culture of entrepreneurship in Iowa. Our participants did a fantastic job pitching their business ideas and representing North Iowa and the culture of entrepreneurship of our region.”

Candi Karsjens was also recognized at University of Iowa’s Venture School Launch Day with the Tom Trone Mentor of the Year award.

North Iowa entrepreneurs continue to perform well at the statewide competition. In 2021, Zack Smith of The Stock Cropper took home First Place, and Nate Julseth of Nate’s Powder Coating took home First Runner-Up. In 2022, Billie Asmus of Silicone Studios won Third Place, while Dr. Tara Nichols of Maters of Comfort and Josh Jeske of Terraform Tillage both won Honorable Mentions. In 2023, Mary Jo Vrba of Mags & Lu Pet Services won Third Place.

At the 2024 Venture School Statewide Launch Day, First Place ($15,000) was awarded to Act Write Here, (Laney Kraus-Taddeo). Second Place ($9,000) went to Tumbleweed (Paul Richardson). Two finalists, EHS Support Source (Linden Terpstra) and Site Sidekick (Tom Altman), and five semifinalists, received $1,000 each. The semifinalists are Invasive Removal (Mark Vande Haar), Ossarocco, LLC (Osarodion Aigbogun), Roster (Steve Wittmer), Steer Clear Mirrors (Courtney McClellan), and The LEGG Buddy, LLC (Gary Goodlett).

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