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Venture School, an intense six-week program for entrepreneurs developed by the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, is coming to Waukee again. The program, led by experienced entrepreneurs, increases the chances of a company’s success by driving the startup process.
“Our goal is to bring the expertise of the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center’s (Iowa JPEC) award-winning training program to people across the state of Iowa,” says Lynn Allendorf, Director of Iowa JPEC. “By creating a partnership with entrepreneurs in cities across the state of Iowa, we can offer budding innovators and small business owners a wide variety of resources including prototyping, business strategies and industry specific mentoring – all while supporting Iowa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” she said.
UI’s Venture School is collecting applications and encouraging teams from Waukee to participate in the program and gain marketing expertise and real world knowledge to bring their ideas to life. The City of Waukee is proud to be a supporter of the Venture School program. Waukee business owner Heather Hassebroek, who founded online retailer Bublins, was a previous Venture School participant and said she is still benefiting from the experience today.
"We continue to apply the information we learned through Venture School every single day - from updating the Business Model Canvas to continuing, to do customer discovery, to testing our hypotheses," Hassebroek said. "This has allowed us to continue to grow and evolve the business. In addition to the knowledge we received, the mentoring and networking have proven to be invaluable. The mentor whom was assigned to us during Venture School continues to mentor and guide us still today."
The curriculum for Venture School—developed by the National Science Foundation I-Corps at Stanford University and the University of California – Berkeley, allows entrepreneurs to evaluate their business model with real-world engagement. By building customer relationships which test the strength of the team’s product or idea, entrepreneurs can modify their products before the investment stage of their venture.
Since its inception, Venture School has helped guide over 200 startups, and has awarded over $125,000 in cash prizes. Many of the participating teams have used these funds to continue their business ventures across the state of Iowa.
The deadline to apply is February 6, 2017. Venture School cohorts at select locations will begin the week of February 20-24, 2017 and meet through the end of April.