Kickstart your startup and win up to $5,000

Pappajohn Student Venture Competition

Sponsored by John Pappajohn, Equity Dynamics, Inc., the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture 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 business plans submitted in the competition. In addition, all finalists receive $500 if not chosen for the top awards.


  • Full or part-time undergraduate or graduate students registered during the fall semester at any Iowa post-secondary educational institution are eligible for the competition. High school students enrolled in college credit courses are eligible.
  • Plans may be submitted by an individual or by a team of students.
  • Teams must consist of at least one student member.
  • Teams must consist of five or fewer members.
  • Business plans must be for a start-up business only (not for an existing business).

How to Apply

Students will need to submit an executive summary, a one-page Business Model Canvas and financial projections to the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center closest to their home institution.

Coaching is available for North Iowa area students at the Pappajohn Center. Contact kelley.o’ for more information.

2024 Timeline of Competition

April 1, 2024 — All applications due

Business documents due to respective John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (by midnight): Application Form, Terms & Conditions, Executive Summary, Business Model Canvas, Financial Spreadsheet(s), and W-9 form (preferred payment to individual, not business).

April 8-9, 2024 — Judging, Round 1 ($500)

Each of the five regional locations will select no more than three top business plans to compete in the final competition.  Regional competitions may include interviews or presentations at the discretion of the regional centers.

April 10, 2024 — Up to 15 Teams Selected to Advance

Communication sent to each finalist with specific instructions for submitting pitch decks and video pitches.

April 22, 2024 — Final Statewide Competition & Awards

Finalists will give a pitch (including pitch deck) to John Pappajohn and his senior advisors at Equity Dynamics in Des Moines, Iowa.  Three top awards ($5,000 each) will be presented following a luncheon event.  $5,000 winners are not eligible for the $500 regional award – only one award per team. 


Executive Summary

Business Model Canvas

Financial Projections

Please reference the Income Statement tab (3-year projections)

Pitch Deck (required of finalists in Round 2)