Three UNI student businesses will be advancing to the state level in the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition including AdFLY, Network Nirvana, and LOCAD.
The competition is sponsored by John Pappajohn and Equity Dynamics Inc. and serves as a resource for college students to earn money for their business and practice their pitch. Regional winners receive $500 and have the opportunity to advance to the state level in Des Moines on April 21. At the competition, each student or team is required to provide a 3-5 minute pitch deck about their business, followed by a round of questions. The top three business plans will receive a $5,000 award.
AdFLY was created by Grant Keller and Scott Burak, a senior Interactive Digital Studies major from Allison, IA. AdFLY provides digital solutions for small, family-owned businesses. The company provides web design, search engine optimization with social media integration, and Pay-Per-Click search engine marketing services.
Network Nirvana is quickly approaching its seventh anniversary as a startup. TJ Nissen, a junior Graphics Technology major from Evansdale, IA, was the mastermind behind this business. Network Nirvana is a multimedia conglomerate that strives to deliver the best experiences in entertainment.
LOCAD was brought to life by Matthew Poulton, UNIBusiness senior Finance major from Iowa City, IA. The goal behind this business is to place digital advertisements on trucks to reach more consumers. The LCD displays on the trucks can be customized based on time of day or location.
Laurie Watje, Program Manager at the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator, believes this competition provides many great resources for students who are launching their company out of the student incubator program which is housed in UNI's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. "The students pitch their business idea directly to John Pappajohn and his staff from Equity Dynamics and receive valuable comments and feedback on their business," Watje explained.
The Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition began in 2000, and the UNI JPEC has been well represented at state ever since. For 11 of the 17 years at the competition, UNI students have made their way to the top, earning one of the highest monetary awards.