News & Events

UI to Award Best High School Entrepreneurs

The University of Iowa is encouraging the state’s young people to develop new businesses by co-sponsoring a competition that will award cash prizes to the best ideas from Iowa high school student entrepreneurs.

The Quick Pitch Biz Competition is co-sponsored by accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young and will award $1,500 to the high school student entrepreneur who has the best existing business or idea for a new business.

“This is an opportunity for the university to support young entrepreneurs and business builders who have innovative new ideas and let young people know that ideas they come up with can really mean something,” says Dawn Bowlus, director of the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in the UI’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC).

The winner will receive $1,500, second place will receive $1,000, and third place will receive $500. All three winners will also be invited to participate in the statewide tournament in the spring, where the winner will receive an additional $1,000 and an all expenses paid trip to Ernst & Young’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year Award ceremony in Kansas City in June.

Three honorable mentions will also receive $500.

Bowlus says the competition judges—faculty members in the UI Tippie College of Business and JPEC—will analyze the viability of the business idea and content of their business plan.

“We’re looking for creative ideas that have traction, like an existing business with a track record or a business idea that has the potential to go from start-up to a viable business,” says Bowlus.

Contestants must submit a one-page executive summary to the Jacobson Institute by Friday, Nov. 30. The panel of judges will review the plans and invite the top entrepreneurs to present an elevator pitch of up to five minutes via Skype on Dec. 10.

The top three winners will compete in the year-end tournament in late spring and will be joined by the top three winners from another round of competition to be held in the spring.

In addition, the school with the most finalists will receive a $500 grant and the school with the most applicants will receive a $250 grant. The grants are to be used to support entrepreneurship education.

More information and an application are available online at


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