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John Pappajohn Iowa Business Plan Competition Committee Announces Three Finalists

The John Pappajohn Iowa Business Plan Competition committee announced today the three finalists that will be presenting at the Iowa Venture Capital and Entrepreneur Conference in Des Moines on October 11.

Following a six month long competition, where over 85 business plans were submitted and reviewed, the contest led to seven businesses presenting to a judging panel in the finals. The judging panel included the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) representatives and judges from the Iowa Business Accelerator program and the SBDC. Representing the JPECs were: Jamie T. Zanios, Director, North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) JPEC; Lynn Jahn, Assistant Director, University of Iowa JPEC; Steve Carter, Director, Iowa State University JPEC; Randy Pilkington, University of Northern Iowa JPEC; and Deb Bishop, Director, Drake University JPEC. The other judges were: Kim Kudrna from New Ventures Initiative and the Business Accelerator in Davenport; Ann Hutchinson from the Small Business Development Centers in Davenport at Eastern Iowa Community College (EICC); and Mike Upah from the ISU JPEC in Ames.

The committee is proud to announce the three finalists in the competition, listed in alphabetical order:

  • CMNet iSEEK (Geometric search technology, ISU spin off and supported by ISU JPEC, Ames)
  • Latham Hi-Tech Hybrids (Hybrid seed corn, worked with the NIACC SBDC and JPEC, from Sheffield)
  • Sirrah (pig vaccine, early stage ISU support, Ames)

John Pappajohn will announce the three winners and their final ranking at the Iowa Venture Capital and Entrepreneur Conference on October 11 and will award checks for $25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place. The winners each will make a short executive summary presentation on their companies and plans.

Receiving honorable mention were: Bio::Neos (bioinformatics software provider from Iowa City); Miller Hybrids (seed corn, Iowa City); Solo Direct Connect (wireless ISP, Davenport); and Think Safe (high-tech, commercial first aid kits, Hiawatha). Each of these four companies will receive a check for $1,000 from Mr. Pappajohn.

“I very much look forward to meeting the three finalists in person and presenting them with their checks. More importantly, I hope this competition will stimulate additional entrepreneurial activity throughout the state and that those businesses who participated will continue to access the resources of the JPECs, Business Accelerators, and SBDCs for help in getting started and accelerating their growth once they are in business”, said John Pappajohn.

“This has been a terrific exercise to stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit in Iowa”, said Jamie T. Zanios, Director of the NIACC JPEC. “It will be truly exciting to watch the development and growth of these three finalist and also the many other businesses that competed. In this contest, there are only winners, as the participants have acted on their dreams, built their plans, and are executing on the business plans as we speak. The Iowa economy will be the eventual winner as these companies succeed and grow.”

For additional information, please contact Jamie T. Zanios at 641-422-4162 or Contact information for the three finalists follows:

CMNet, Incorporated (iSEEK)
Dr. Abir Qamhiyah

Latham Hi-Tech Hybrids LLC
John Latham

Sirrah LLC
DL Hank Harris

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