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North Iowa Venture Teams Announced

 The Fall 2020 North Iowa Venture School cohort launched on Thursday October 1, 2020. The University of Iowa’s Venture School is being held as a hybrid in-person/event program through November 19 at the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. 12 teams are enrolled in the Fall 2020 North Iowa cohort. 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. Teams will accelerate the startup process by testing their business model hypotheses immediately through direct conversation with customers, partners, and competitors, rather than relying on statistics and secondhand market research.

Each Venture School team is assigned a local entrepreneur as their mentor. $5,000 in prize money will be awarded during the Venture School Pitch Competition to be held during Global Entrepreneurship Week on Thursday, November 19th.

Participating teams will also be eligible to compete for cash awards locally and at the state level during the Venture School Launch Day Competition at EntreFEST 2021. Last year’s Mason City graduates were awarded $13,000 in prize money during the 2020 EntreFEST pitch competition.

The Fall 2020 North Iowa Venture School teams are:

  • Lena Boehmer, Mason City
  • Suzanne Crane and Elisha Marin, Mason City / Albert Lea
  • Abbie Emhoff, Rockwell
  • Lynx and Ida Gregoire, Mason City
  • Joseph Jamigaard and Jackie Villela, Lake Mills
  • Bethany Langfitt and Gloria Sobek, Kanawha
  • Georgina Rodriguez and Arian Ortiz, Mason City
  • Zach Smith and Sheldon Stevermer, Lake Mills
  • Ashley Stokke, Clear Lake
  • Elizabeth Thompson, Forest City
  • Dr. Angela VanGilder, Charles City
  • Dan and Brenda Thompson, Lake Mills / California

Contact Candi Karsjens at with questions or if you are a local entrepreneur interested in becoming a Venture School mentor. To apply for the Spring 2021 cohort, visit and select the Mason City cohort in the drop-down menu.


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