University of Northern Iowa

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R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator

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The R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator, a program of the UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), is an educational learning laboratory designed to inspire and educate students interested in entrepreneurship and small business. The SBI program was originally funded by the Small Business Administration and private donors. Currently the SBI is funded by the R. J. McElroy Trust. These funds allow student business owners to explore business ideas with the assistance of JPEC staff and other professionals. Current UNI students and teams of students are eligible to apply. Students from other area colleges and high schools will also be considered. Students are admitted on an on-going basis and must demonstrate adequate progress to remain in the program.

PresentationThere are three levels of service available to students — networking, business support or physical incubation.

  • Networking services are for students interested in learning more about entrepreneurship: program offerings include UNI-E (Entrepreneurs Club) and access to campus and community networking opportunities.
  • Business support services are for students working on a business concept (pre-revenue stage): program offerings include one-on-one business consulting with JPEC staff and access to co-working space in JPEC. 
  • Physical incubation space is available for students who have a business: program offerings include admittance in the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator program with 24/7 access to dedicated office space located in the JPEC.  

All programming developed by the JPEC staff is designed to increase the chances for student entrepreneurial success. Students will graduate from any of the three programs equipped with the skills and experience necessary to create a positive influence on the Iowa economy and beyond.  

How To Apply For Physical Incubation Space

The first step to being considered for the R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator program is to review the presentation on business opportunity development and incubation, complete the quiz, and apply online. After you do these steps, e-mail us at and a JPEC staff member will contact you to schedule an interview.

For more information on JPEC services, call 319-273-JPEC (5732) or email




Current Tenants

Emma Slagle Headshot

Emma Slagle (Senior)

Honor and Respect

Emma Slagle is a senior studying communications and entrepreneurship. Emma started her company, Honor and Respect LLC, with her family in 2018. Honor and Respect is an online shoe and apparel company that partners with and donates to a variety of organizations that assist in helping first responders and military members receive mental health care. Since founding, Honor and Respect has created five shoe designs, an entire line of apparel, and are now looking to expand into retail. 

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Anna Gilbreath Headshot

Anna Gilbreath (Sophomore)

Anna Grace Creates

Anna Gilbreath is a sophomore majoring in art studio and minoring in marketing. Anna Grace Creates is a small batch pottery business that focuses on functionality of handmade ware. Anna creates playful, minimalist designs that are sold at markets and pop-up shops throughout Iowa. 

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Jacob Kurt Headshot

Jacob Kurt (Sophomore) 

Kurt Lawn Care

Jacob Kurt is a sophomore studying business and entrepreneurship. Jacob started his entrepreneurship journey in 2012 with Kurt Lawn Care. Since then he has expanded to selling pillows, totes, and towels at Lake Delhi and is now experimenting in social media management. 



Noman Ikram Headshot

Noman Ikram (Graduate)


Noman Ikram is a graduate student pursuing a masters in Business Administration. Noman began running Zemira six months ago which is a South-Asian based company that sells clothing online that is traditionally not easily accessible. Zemira uses premium fabric with superior customer service. The company is currently operating in Pakistan with plans to expand into the U.S. in the near future. 

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Zach Hull Headshot

Zach Hull (Senior)

Hull Sports Cards

Zach Hull is a senior studying Marketing Management. In 2021, Zach founded Hull Sports cards, which focuses on buying, selling, trading, and researching sports cards. The research consists of 100s of different variables to help predict the best possible outcome for each card.



Skyler Ramsey Headshot

Skyler Ramsey (Senior)

Teal Phoenix Real Estate

Skyler Ramsey is a senior double majoring in Real Estate and Finance (Investments) with a minor in Entrepreneurship. After training foster dogs, Skyler became aware of the lack of accessibility in real-estate. Upon recognizing this problem, Teal Phoenix Real Estate was founded!



Cayla Fulcher Headshot

Cayla Fulcher (Senior)

Fulcher Media

Cayla Fulcher is a senior triple majoring in Graphic Technologies, Interactive Digital Studies, and Technology Management with a minor in Marketing. Cayla founded Fulcher Media to help businesses with branding and content that represents them well. Fulcher Media helps with logo design, brand development, packaging design, and social media content.

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