Frontier Co-op – Tippie Impact Competition

This competition is right up your alley if you’re interested in sustainability issues facing our society, specifically in the business environment. Learn how to develop a sustainable business model and identify environmental and social components that factor into the long-term profitability and viability of your business. Throughout the competition, consult with faculty, business owners, and sustainability professionals to work through your business model canvas. During the finals, pitch your sustainable business concept to a panel of judges. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners, as well as an opportunity to develop your business inside the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory (BELL).

    Competition timeline

    • February 16: 1:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.—Sustainability training
    • March 2: Sustainable business model canvas draft due 
    • April 6: Pitch coaching
    • April 27: Innovation Expo: Frontier Co-op – Tippie Impact Competition finals

    Sustainability half-day training

    During a half-day workshop in W401 PBB on February 16 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., you will learn about entrepreneurship and the business model canvas as well as how to identify and address key sustainability issues relevant to your business model. Use the half-day training session to brainstorm business ideas and meet with other potential partners. All University of Iowa students are eligible to participate in the competition. Registration is required to attend.

    This training is an approved event for earning Advantage Iowa credit and Fraternity Sorority Life educational credit. 

    Register for the training

    Business model canvas

    On March 2, indicate your intent to compete in the Frontier Co-op – Tippie Impact Competition by submitting a draft sustainable business model canvas. In addition to the template outlined in “The Startup Owner’s Manual,” by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf, include two additional “boxes”—societal costs and societal benefits. Articulate the value for the customer, value for the business, and value for stakeholders, the environment, and society.

    Pitch feedback

    You will have the opportunity to pitch your business model to a team of coaches and receive feedback before the final competition. On April 6 between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. in W401 PBB, you will have 15-20 minutes to share your idea and demonstrate why your team should win!

    Frontier Co-op – Tippie Impact Competition finals

    Pitch your sustainable business model to a panel of judges at the Iowa JPEC Innovation Expo at the Iowa Memorial Union on April 27. The winning individual or team will receive a cash prize and the potential opportunity to develop their business in the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory (BELL). Judges will evaluate teams based on 1.) quality of presentation, 2.) successful implementation of the sustainable business model canvas, and 3.) the degree to which the team is solving a significant problem. Winning participants will demonstrate the ability to act on their sustainable business model.


    1st place—$2,500
    2nd place—$1,000
    3rd place—$500

    Frontier Co-op

    Frontier Co-op™ offers a full line of natural and organic products under the Frontier Co-op, Simply Organic®, and Aura Cacia® brands. Their products include culinary herbs, spices and baking flavors; and natural and organic aromatherapy products. Frontier Co-op’s goal is to provide consumers with the highest-quality organic and natural products while supporting and promoting social and environmental responsibility.

    Frontier Co-op cares deeply about the effect our business has on the world—the people and communities they do business with, the way the production of their botanical products affects the environment and the holistic health of us all. Their operating framework involves a focus on core business activities, creating social and environmental value whenever possible, and minimizing our footprint elsewhere.