NIACC Pappajohn Center now accepting applications for Fall 2020 Venture School

The NIACC John Pappajohn Center is now accepting applications for the Fall 2020 cohort of the University of Iowa’s Venture School program, which will be held as a hybrid in-person/online on Thursday evenings, October 1st through November 19th at the NIACC Pappajohn Center. U of I Venture School is a premier statewide program for entrepreneurs and is built from a streamlined curriculum developed by the National Science Foundation I-Corps at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. Venture School emphasizes real-world entrepreneurship and innovation based on a leading-edge curriculum. This program works for startups, small businesses, non-profits, and corporate innovation teams. Your team will accelerate the startup process by testing your business model hypotheses immediately. You will get out of the building to talk to customers, partners, and competitors, rather than relying on statistics and secondhand market research.

The Fall 2020 Venture School classes will be held as a hybrid class with a combination of in-person and online weekly classes via Zoom. In-person classes will meet October 1st and November 19th on the NIACC campus, using CDC guidelines which require wearing masks and physical distancing. All other weekly classes will be held online via Zoom.

Each Venture School team will be assigned a local entrepreneur as their mentor. Participating teams will be eligible to compete for cash awards both locally and at the state level during the Venture School launch day at EntreFEST 2021. Last year’s Mason City graduates were awarded $13,000 in prize money during the 2020 EntreFEST pitch competition. The cost for the course is $299 (for two team members).

Contact Candi Karsjens at with questions or if you are a local entrepreneur interested in becoming a Venture School mentor. To apply for the Fall 2020 cohort, visit and select the Mason City cohort in the drop-down menu. The deadline to apply is September 10th.

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is the expert in rural business innovation and success. In partnership with North Iowa’s Small Business Development Center, together we provide tools, support, and resources to Iowa’s entrepreneurs. We counsel both new and existing local businesses, from Main Street to industry leaders. We’re growing Iowa’s entrepreneurial culture through grade school initiatives, college and community programs, and business training and development. Contact the NIACC Pappajohn and SBDC Center at 641-422-4342 or



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