Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The University of Iowa will become part of a new collaboration that supports one of the state’s largest entrepreneurial conferences, to be held in Iowa City next May.

The university will be a presenting partner of EntreFEST, a three-day conference aimed at business owners, high-growth early-stage entrepreneurs, and innovators inside existing corporations, as well as economic development professionals and private citizens focused on supporting more entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in their local area.

About 750 people are expected to attend the event from May 19-22, 2015, in locations throughout downtown Iowa City.

The university is joined by the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers around the state, which together are also a major sponsor of the event. Lynn Allendorf, director of the UI JPEC, says the university’s intention for this partnership is to support new business growth across the state.

“We know from the Kauffman Foundation’s research, that all net new jobs in our economy are created by companies five years old and younger,” Allendorf says. “EntreFEST is the biggest event in Iowa that connects, educates and supports the people in our state who will build these new companies and new jobs. "We see this partnership as an investment in the future prosperity of Iowa’s statewide economy."

EntreFEST started in 2008 in Cedar Falls as a way to bring together rural entrepreneurs from across the state, but has grown every year to become one of the biggest and most comprehensive entrepreneurship events in the Iowa. This year, it will include an education conference, a trade show of resources available to entrepreneurs in Iowa, and a festival including parties and events celebrating innovation in the state. Public opportunities are available on the website EntreFEST.com to register as an attendee, apply to speak, sponsor the conference, or host a party as part of the event.

Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa are also presenting sponsors of EntreFEST.