Launch Week Encourages Innovation and Entrepreneurship

What's Happening Thumbnail: 

A week of events relating to innovation and entrepreneurship will take place in Sioux City as part of the 7th annual Launch Week, November 12th - 17th. Launch Week aims to inspire and promote collaboration among students, business owners and professionals throughout northwest Iowa by providing workshops, startup presentations and networking opportunities.

The week of creativity begins with the Venture School Finale on Tuesday, November 12th at 5:00 p.m. Venture School is an innovative training program to help high-potential startups and growing small businesses turn their ideas into reality. Participants in the 2019 Venture School Program have completed the program and will give their final presentation to a panel of judges on Tuesday evening at Western Iowa Tech Community College. The public is welcome to attend the pitch event to learn more about the program and about the business ideas and future plans of the participants.

On Wednesday, November 13th the Small Business Development Center will host Ignite Your Marketing at Western Iowa Tech from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This marketing workshop will show entrepreneurs and business owners ways to strengthen customer relationships and build visibility for their business. The session is free and attendees are asked to register by contacting SBDC Regional Director Todd Rausch at 712-274-6454 or

Local entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals will gather for Biz Brew on Wednesday evening from 4:30-7:00 p.m. at Marto Brewing Company. Biz Brew brings people together who are interested in fostering a startup community and creating a positive environment for businesses to grow. Everyone is welcome to stop by and enjoy beverage specials, appetizers and great conversations.

On Thursday, November 14th the economic development organizations in northwest Iowa will host the regional Dream Big Grow Here pitch competition at the Oscar Carl Vineyard in Sioux City. In September, entrepreneurs in northwest Iowa submitted their dreams to start or expand a business. Five finalists have been selected to present their idea in a pitch event for a chance to win thousands in cash prizes. The first-place winner will receive $4,000, second place will receive $2,000 and third place will receive $1,000. The event is free and doors will open to the public at 5:00 p.m.

Launch It College Edition will conclude the week with a weekend long event which brings college students, from all areas of study, together to experience the entrepreneurial culture. On Friday night, instructors will work with students to identify business ideas that will have an impact, pitch those ideas to their classmates, and form teams around the top ideas. On Saturday, each team will research and discover information that pertains to their business, conduct customer discovery, and refine their idea to create a minimal viable product. On Sunday, each team will tailor its final pitch and present to a panel of judges. Local business owners and community members will act as mentors and coaches for the weekend. Students will learn problem solving skills, have an opportunity to network with community members, and will begin to think like an entrepreneur. The event will be held on the Western Iowa Tech campus in Sioux City and registration and meals during the event are free for college students thanks to the event sponsor, Iowa's West Coast Initiative. Students can register up by visiting

A special thank you to the featured sponsor of Launch Week, Iowa’s West Coast Initiative, for underwriting the cost of many of these events. To view additional details for each event, visit