Two student groups win funding from UI startup accelerator

Two groups of Cornell College students were accepted into the the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Student Accelerator program for the summer.

Each group will receive $10,000 in support, including money for start up expenses and a stipend to live in Iowa City. Both teams are led by students who took David Burgess’ entrepreneurship class during block 8. Burgess is a visiting professor of economics and business and an assistant professor at the University of Iowa.

One team, Grace Callahan, Peter Tran, and TJ Robison, is developing an app to record lectures and speeches and automatically tag and categorize segments of the speeches.

A second group is creating a non-profit that trains service dogs for veterans and people with disabilities. That team is led by Blake Nelson, and includes Trevor Gretten and Talitha Bennett.

Burgess will mentor both teams as they work in Iowa City.

The Student Accelerator website describes the program:

Accelerator teams will begin their experience by participating in Venture School training during an intensive, three day workshop. After which teams will meet weekly to discuss their progress in meeting the milestones as well as learn about other key Business Model Canvas concepts.  Participants will have access to industry partners that can coach them on accounting, tax, IP and funding issues.  Teams can also earn three semester hour credits by participating in the Advanced Business Planning class where they will create a detailed business plan, elevator pitch, and formal presentation of plan. The teaching team and mentors will be on hand through out the summer to oversee completion of milestones and help teams reach their goals.

Burgess said this is the first time the program has been open to students from outside the University of Iowa, and that competition was stiff, with far more groups applying for funding than slots were available for.

An interview with the students involved with Canine Partner Advocates is available on the Berry Center for Economics, Business and Public Policy website.