North Iowa Students Compete in NIACC Everyday Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition

$4500 in Prizes Awarded to Local Entrepreneurs

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center hosted the Everyday Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition on Monday, November 13, 2023. The Everyday Entrepreneur Program is sponsored in conjunction with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), helping to provide access to entrepreneurial education and funding for students to take their businesses from an idea to a thriving enterprise. This innovative event offers vital assistance to student entrepreneurs by helping them craft their initial business models, refine their pitching skills, and gain access to invaluable mentoring and funding opportunities. The competition was open to all NIACC students (including concurrent enrolled students). Seven students competed in the Semi-Finals on Monday morning. Five students advanced to the Finals, which were held Monday November 13 at 12pm, and presented their business pitches to a panel of judges.

The winners of the Everyday Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition were:

First Prize $1250Bin Bladder, Caleb Renner (Klemme, IA). Bin Bladder brings safety and ingenuity to your grain bin with an innovative alternative to bin sweeps.

Second Prize $1000Henna with Cat, Catherine Dow (Clarksville, IA). Henna with Cat provides a comprehensive experience, bringing to light the beauty, cultural richness, and boundless artistic expression of henna, creating an avenue for self-discovery and cultural appreciation.

Third Prize $750Kul Box, Elic Fjetland (Clarion, IA). Kul Box is a mini insulated bag that helps prevent lip balm from melting in your car.

Honorable Mention $500FlipSight, Josh Hanson (Joice, IA). FlipSight is an AI-driven solution that allows clients to flip with insight, profit with foresight.

Honorable Mention $500Rivera Tech, Fabian Rivera (Rowan, IA). Rivera Tech provides trustworthy and cooperative service created to repair and service homeowners with HVAC units.

Semi-Finalist $250Mamba, Gabriela dos Santos de Medeiros (Brazil). Mamba is an aspirational apparel brand for athletes.

Semi-Finalist $250Prairie Education Agency, Casey Zuehl (St. Ansgar, IA). Prairie Education Agency offers a self-paced education environment utilizing AI to gather material to develop the skills for the workplace

The judging panel included: Matt Curtis of Wayne’s Ski & Cycle (Mason City), Cathy Rottinghaus of First Citizen’s Bank (Charles City), and Molly Watson of Home Style (Clear Lake).

This was North Iowa's inaugural Everyday Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition, and was held during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). GEW is an international event aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a company. Founded in 2008, GEW inspires millions each year to explore their potential while fostering connections and increasing collaboration within their ecosystems to empower entrepreneurs and strengthen communities. The NIACC Pappajohn Center hosted a number of events for GEW 2023. Learn more at

Caleb Renner presents his business pitch for Bin Bladder
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