Iowa State's Innovation Pitch Competition

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Last night I had the fun opportunity to help judge the Iowa State Innovation Pitch Competition for the third time. The contest is put on by the ISU Pappajohn Center and their Entrepreneurship and Learning Community program which is housed at the Delta Upsilon Fraternity house. The students with winning pitches are awarded cash prizes for their efforts courtesy of local sponsors.

This year we heard nearly 30 pitches that included everything hardware, software, physical goods, retail, textiles and more. A few came from students that I remembered from previous years (and for the most part these pitches were better than their earlier pitches). You could tell that some ideas came from areas the students had researched in their studies while one or two was made up that evening. Some were funny, some were serious and I’m sure that some will actually become real businesses.

Winners are pictured above (L to R): Shaun VanWeelden (Best New Business Idea), Janet Horsager (Best Overall Pitch), Michael Nosko (Audience Choice), Eve Iversen (Best New Social Venture), and Jared Beymer (Best New Innovation)

One interesting side note is that one of the sponsorships came from Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management 310, the class last fall that challenged student teams to turn $5 into as much profit as they could over the course of one month. Here’s details on that team’s project via ISU’s news service:

Students opted not to use the $5 investment to make or purchase a product to sell. Instead, students approached local business owners and offered to advertise the business’s product or service during the team’s class presentation. The group contacted 11 area businesses, created nine advertisements and raised $395. The money will benefit other student entrepreneurs who win business competitions sponsored by the Pappajohn Center.

Here’s another story on that class from the Iowa State Daily.

Thanks to Judi Eyles and the student organizers for letting me be a part of the event.

Photo Credit: Judi Eyles