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UI Students Win $5,000 in Pappajohn Business Plan Competition

Two University of Iowa students each won $5,000 seed capital grants in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition last week, earning top honors among competitors from schools across Iowa.

John Mickelson and Diana Reed won the grants March 29 in the competition at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Iowa Conference in Des Moines. Nominations for the competition were collected through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers and the 12 regional award winners were from the UI, Iowa State University, Drake University, the University of Northern Iowa, and North Iowa Area Community College.

Venture capitalist John Pappajohn created the award program in 2000 to encourage and help Iowa college students pursue their interests in starting their own companies.

Mickelson, a student in the UI College of Law and Tippie MBA program in the Tippie College of Business, won for his business, Alrac. The company provides reverse mortgage lending assistance to small and medium sized Midwestern banks. The company is based at the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory, which is operated by the UI's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

Reed won for her business, Diana's Divas, a baton and dance studio in Iowa City. Reed is a performing arts and business major at UI, and for the past four years has been the Iowa Hawkeye Golden Girl. She is also a nationally recognized twirling champion.

A third top prize of $5,000 was awarded to a student from ISU, while two $2,500 prizes went to students from UNI.

In addition, a regional award was presented to Shirt and Simple, a business founded by Jodi Blok, an accounting and finance major in the Tippie College of Business, and George Pfeiffer, a recent UI alumnus.


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