Share this

Pappajohn launches annual Iowa Business Plan Competition

January 10, 2011

Randy Pilkington, director, UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, 319-273-5732

Rebecca Schultze, communications and public relations manager, UNI College of Business Administration, 319-273-3309,


New and start-up businesses can enter to win up to $25,000

John Pappajohn, Iowa's premier venture capitalist, has announced the launch of the 2011 John Pappajohn Iowa Business Plan Competition. This is the sixth-annual business plan competition for Iowa sponsored by Pappajohn. Since 2006, more than $250,000 in prizes has been awarded to start-ups across the state. This year, a total of $50,000 will be awarded to the top three submitted business plans: $25,000 for first prize, $15,000 for second and $10,000 for third.

The competition is designed to stimulate business development and provide support for outstanding business plans. The John Pappajohn Iowa Business Plan Competition is open to new and start-up businesses (in business for less than four years).

The first round of the business plan competition will take place between March 1 and April 30. During this time, businesses are invited to submit business information via A link to Angelsoft is available at

In May, selected companies will be contacted and invited to submit full business plans through Angelsoft. Seven to 10 of these companies will be chosen to present to judges in September. After presentations are completed, three finalists will be notified. Each finalist will prepare a 15-minute presentation to be given at the Iowa Venture Capital and Entrepreneurs Conference (IVCEC) in Des Moines on Oct. 5. Winners will be announced following the presentations.

Nicola Pohl, of LuCELLa Biosciences, runner up in of the 2010 John Pappajohn Iowa Business Plan Competition, said, "The competition really forced us to focus our business plan. It helped us focus our thoughts in terms of how to explain what we do to the rest of the world."

John Garber of IDx, also a runner up in the 2010 competition, said, “It's given me ideas to continue to develop the business and make it more appealing to investors and users.”

Even businesses that don't win benefit from submitting a business plan. In an interview with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Neal White, of Cohesive Creative and Code said, "It's interesting to go through that process, knowing the time and effort you've put in developing a plan that will be reviewed and examined by people who are qualified and respected in that regard."

Assistance with business plan entries is available at the Iowa 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; the Small Business Development Centers throughout the state; and the business accelerators in Des Moines, Red Oak, Spencer, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Mason City.

The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers provide entrepreneurial education and business support, partnering with agencies like the Small Business Development Center, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Entrepreneurial Development Centers and local entrepreneurs to assist with funding and other business needs.

Rules, eligibility, timelines and assistance information are available at the competition website,

For additional information about the competition visit or contact one of the JPEC centers via the contact information below.


Drake University John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

Debra Bishop



Iowa State University John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

Judi Eyles



North Iowa Area Community College John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

Jamie Zanios



University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

David Hensley



University of Northern Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

Randy Pilkington



Note: Below is contact information for the three winners of the 2010 competition.


Energy Control Technologies, Inc.

Energy Control Technologies (ECT) develops control system solutions that provide one year payback on energy efficiency projects for machinery and industrial processes. ECT was started in 2008 and is based in West Des Moines.

Contact: Nikhil Dukle




IDx is working to commercialize low-cost eye disease screening tools that have been developed at the University of Iowa. IDx was founded in 2010 and is based in Iowa City.


LuCELLa Biosciences, Inc.

LuCella Biosciences provides custom carbohydrate-based reagents to accelerate immunology, biology and vaccine discovery. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in Ames.

Contact: Nicola Pohl, President