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UI and JPEC Bring Startup Program to Des Moines

A year-old pilot program at the University of Iowa that helps entrepreneurs learn about a popular method of startup businesses will come to Des Moines in September. But first, the directors of Venture School want to have a sort of coming-out party.

Officials with the University of Iowa's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center will host a kick-off to Venture School at 5 p.m. Thursday at JPEC offices, 1200 Grand Ave., in Des Moines.

The six-week program launched in Iowa City in fall 2013 and followed up with a second program in the spring. This summer, student-run businesses had their turn learning about the Lean Startup methodology, which applies a scientific approach to startup companies.

"We teach them, first and foremost, how to connect with real customers and to communicate with those to get good, honest feedback," said Lynn Allendorf, director of JPEC in charge of outreach for the center.

Allendorf said she and other JPEC officials went to Berkeley, Calif., to learn more about the methodology.

Enrollment charges are $500 per team and registration is open to all startups, not just University of Iowa students. At the end of the program, teams will pitch their companies and earn monetary prizes for categories such as best pivot or best business idea.


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