North Iowa Entrepreneurs Take Home Wins at 2022 Pappajohn Venture Competition

The sixteenth annual John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition awarded $100,000 in cash prizes to nine Iowa ventures Friday, August 12. The $100,000 in seed funding consists of a $50,000 contribution from John Pappajohn and a $50,000 match from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). The goal of this competition is to support Iowa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Three North Iowa entrepreneurs made it to the final round: Mitchell Hora, Continuum Ag; Jill Ihrke, Easy2Show; and Jayson Ryner, ReEnvision Ag.

Iowa businesses that have been in operation for four years or less or are not yet cash flow positive were eligible to apply. The competition is open to businesses including, but not limited to, technology, biotechnology, green technologies, medical, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, engineering, and education industries.

Participants were judged on written submissions, and those who advanced to the final round of the competition presented to a panel of judges. $40,000 was awarded to first place winner Mitchell Hora of Continuum Ag, $25,000 to second place winner Ray Schmidt & Jessica Vlastaras of Farm Story Meats, and $15,000 to third place winner, Kyle Gernhofer and Charlie Hubbard of DenScore.

Honorable mention awards amounting to $20,000 were given to Jayson Ryner of ReEnvision Ag Inc ($5,000), Dr. Sandeep Laroia of Juggernaut Life Sciences LLC ($5,000), Dr. Shan Jiang and Yifan Li of Janas Materials Inc. ($4,000), Jill Ihrke of Easy2Show ($2,000), Emily Steele of The Hummingbirds ($2,000), and Dakota Hoben of Farmers Risk ($2,000).

Applications for the 2023 John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition will open in Spring 2023. For more information or to apply, visit


Pappajohn Venture Competition First Place
Brook Boehmler, Regional Director of North Iowa SBDC; Candi Karsjens, Director of NIACC Pappajohn Center; Mitchell Hora of Continuum Ag, First Place Winner; Tom Moore, Director of Innovation at the NIACC Pappajohn Center
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