University Economic Development Association


Venture School Entrepreneurial Training Program

Award Category: Innovation + Talent
Submitted By: University of Iowa, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center
Program Info: Learn More


Venture School is a statewide entrepreneurial training program developed by the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC). The program was created to fill a void in entrepreneurial training and support across Iowa, particularly in small towns and rural communities, with a goal of economic development impact including number of business starts and jobs created. Based on the NSF I-Corps model, it was customized to enable training of entrepreneurs with a variety of backgrounds, types of businesses, and geographic locations.

The curriculum was made more inclusive, taking into consideration the needs of community businesses, micro-enterprises and not-for-profits, as well as the more typically supported high-technology, high-growth startups. The ability to provide training to disparate entrepreneurs and to customize programming for under-represented groups enabled Iowa JPEC to serve all Iowans pursuing entrepreneurship.

A unique aspect of the program is to provide ongoing support to the entrepreneurs after the end of the training, both from Iowa JPEC as well as from various partners who are physically located in the same community as the entrepreneur. Examples of this longterm assistance include exclusive access to University of Iowa students for internships and priority acceptance in Iowa JPEC business consulting and mentoring programs. Since program inception in 2013, 842 entrepreneurs from 451 startups have been trained through 56 cohorts in ten locations across the state of Iowa.

University Economic Development Association

PO Box 97930
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
216.200.UEDA (8332)