New Business Contest Launched for Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups

The Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa is excited to launch Iowa’s Great Idea Challenge, a new contest for entrepreneurs throughout the state who have an innovative business concept.

“We are excited to rally around the earliest stage start-ups through Iowa’s Great Idea Challenge to provide feedback to entrepreneurs and to guide them through the process of building strong, vibrant and sustainable businesses,” says Patrick Luensmann, Program Director at the Center for Business Growth and Innovation.

In addition to providing valuable feedback throughout the contest application process, Iowa’s Great Idea Challenge aims to identify early stage innovations in an effort to connect new entrepreneurs with the resources and information they need to further develop their idea and to fund the most promising innovations.

To participate the innovations must be pre-revenue/pre-investment, located in Iowa, and consist of a new product or service that could be classified in one of the following industry categories: Agriculture & Animal, Medical & Health Tech, Manufacturing/Transportation/Product, Financial Tech/Insurance/Business Services, or Information Technology. Every participant will receive feedback as well as access to market research information to help shape their direction. Each submission will be judged by a panel of industry experts to select finalists who will then present their idea in a pitch format at the EntreFEST event held in May 2017. Monetary prizes of $1,000 dollars in each industry category will be awarded by a panel of judges.

The deadline to enter the contest is March 31, 2017. To enter your new business idea, or to learn about official contest rules and timelines, please visit the Iowa’s Great Idea Challenge website at


About the Center for Business Growth and Innovation. For the past two decades, the University of Northern Iowa Center for Business Growth and Innovation (UNI CBGI) has built a network of resources and services designed to attract, connect, and accelerate small business and start-up growth with business assistance, capital, partner resources, and valuable connections to their peers. For more information, visit