Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth Initiative

State Appropriation $2,000,000

The entrepreneurship and economic development growth initiative is a collaborative partnership among the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED), the Henry B. Tippie College of Business, the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost, and other key university colleges, including the College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and University of Iowa health science colleges.

Iowa JPEC offers nationally recognized, comprehensive entrepreneurial education programs to all Iowans. At the undergraduate level, Iowa JPEC and the Department of Management and Organizations offer a BBA in Management with an Entrepreneurial Management Track (on-campus and online) to Tippie College of Business students.  Iowa JPEC and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offer a BA in Enterprise Leadership, available on campus, online and at the Iowa Center for Higher Education in Des Moines.  In addition, Iowa JPEC offers the Technological Entrepreneurship Certificate for engineering students, the Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management for all undergraduate students, the Certificate in Arts Entrepreneurship for arts students, and the Certificate in Media Entrepreneurialism for journalism and mass communication students.  Advanced entrepreneurship courses are also offered to MBA students on campus and at several locations across the state of Iowa.

JPEC and its university partners also play an important role in the development of Iowa-based technology and high-growth start-up companies. Whether providing one-on-one consulting services and group training, working with startup companies on technology transition, directing UI students on advanced field study projects, or providing training and seminars to business executives, the University seeks to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.  In FY 2016, training in this area was supplemented through the new National Science Foundation I-Corps program designed to support 90 faculty startups over 4 years.

The recurring allocation of $2.0 million will develop entrepreneurship curriculum and programs, expand direct support to Iowa startups and small-to-medium enterprises, and accelerate new venture formation.  Key initiatives include:

I. Entrepreneurship Curriculum and Education Programs

To strengthen Iowa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and better prepare students and citizens to cultivate innovative solutions for complex problems and develop and execute sustainable business strategies.  Program highlights include:

  • Identify new campus-wide graduate student programs in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology management
  • Continue to build educational partnerships with select Iowa community colleges to expand entrepreneurial education on their campuses and better connect community college faculty and students to UI entrepreneurship faculty, programs and resources
  • Develop a cadre of interdisciplinary faculty to increase dissemination of innovation and entrepreneurship curricula across colleges and programs
  • Expand development and dissemination of the UI’s STEM innovation program for Iowa high school teachers and students through the UI's Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship

II.  Direct Support to Iowa Startups and Small-to-medium Enterprises:   To improve students’ experiential learning opportunities, increase employment opportunities for students and citizens with Iowa-based companies and encourage business expansion across the state and support early stage businesses by enhancing connectivity between educators and the business community.  Program highlights include:

  • Support technology-based student internships and engagement with Iowa startups through the University’s UI Ventures program
  • Connect students with startups and early-stage companies participating in Iowa JPEC’s statewide Venture School program to assist entrepreneurs with market assessment and strategic business planning
  • Provide strategic business consulting services to existing Iowa small-to-medium size companies through Iowa JPEC’s faculty/student business consulting program

III.  Acceleration of New Venture Formation:

  • Continue offering the National Science Foundation I-Corps technology commercialization training program to faculty and graduate students to support the advancement of their research and innovations
  • Expand statewide delivery of Iowa JPEC’s Venture School business acceleration training program, in part through partnerships with community colleges and other economic development and business accelerator organizations
  • Strengthen technical support for faculty and student entrepreneurs through campus-wide collaborations for advanced product design, prototype creation and software application development
  • Expand Iowa Startup Games weekend-long program to several partner locations across Iowa to increase entrepreneurial activity among college students in the state