The Hunt for Iowa's Next Great Idea

Mar 13, 2017

Economic development officials in the state are on the hunt for the next great idea. They are a launching a contest to find a new batch of innovative start-up companies.

Patrick Luensmann, senior program manager at the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Business Growth and Innovation
Credit University of Northern Iowa's Center for Business Growth and Innovation

The Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa is behind the Great Idea Challenge. A senior program manager at the Center, Patrick Luensmann, says winners of the contest will be guided on how to build a strong, sustainable business.

“We really want to try and grow the pipeline for new, innovative companies to start and grow in Iowa,” he says.

Luensmann says eligible entrepreneurial enterprises may be at a range of product development.

“We’re really looking for those ideas that are anywhere from a drawing on a napkin to something that is through development that is just about ready to get to market,” he says.

Winners in five categories will receive a thousand dollars. The new products should be connected to agriculture, health care, manufacturing, financial services or information technology. The deadline to enter is March 31st. They will be judged by a panel of industry experts and the finalists will pitch their ideas at the EntreFEST conference in Iowa City in May.