CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers (located at Drake University, Iowa State University, North Iowa Area Community College, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa), in conjunction with EntreFEST, presented John Pappajohn with the Lifetime Impact Award on May 21.
"Mr. Pappajohn's passion has always been inspiring and motivating to young entrepreneurs," said Randy Pilkington, executive director of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at UNI. "His commitment to helping entrepreneurs began almost 20 years ago when he established the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers, providing more than $30 million. In turn, these centers have helped to create and launch more than 5,200 companies across the state of Iowa, creating thousands of jobs."
In the past year, the financial support of the academic programs has allowed nearly 6,500 undergraduate students to enroll in entrepreneurial coursework and approximately 14,000 students have participated in entrepreneurial programs.
2015 celebrates the 10th year of the John Pappajohn Iowa Venture Competition with more than $500,000 awarded to 31 winners and honorable mention recipients since the competition began. "John’s support has changed the startup culture," said David Hensley, executive director of the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. "His entrepreneurial leadership has expanded access to entrepreneurial education and training. Additionally, his efforts have increased recognition and support of capital resources for entrepreneurs, unlike anyone else across the country."
Pappajohn emigrated from Greece at the age of 9 months and grew up in Mason City. At an early age, he worked while attending the University of Iowa, and upon graduation he started his first entrepreneurial venture, Guardsman Insurance Investors. In 1969, he organized Equity Dynamics, Inc., a financial consulting entity and Pappajohn Capital Resources, a venture capital firm in Des Moines. Since that time, Pappajohn has been involved in more than 100 startups, more than 50 IPOs and has served as a director in more than 40 public companies.