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Iowa Entrepreneurs Received Awards

Thursday, October 8, 2009   (0 Comments)
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Pella Native Gary Vermeer Wins Lifetime Achievement Award;

Ames Company BodyViz Wins John Pappajohn Iowa

Business Plan Competition

Awards Received at Iowa Venture Capital and Entrepreneur Conference


Des Moines, IA (October 6, 2009) -- Today, the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) and entrepreneur John Pappajohn announced the winners of the 2009 Iowa Business Plan Competition and the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 10th Annual Iowa Venture Capital and Entrepreneur Conference.


Pella native Gary Vermeer was posthumously awarded the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. Vermeer is the founder of the Vermeer Corporation, a manufacturing company specializing in agricultural, construction, environmental and industrial equipment. Of his many innovations in agriculture equipment, Vermeer revolutionized agriculture when he created the hay baler in 1971. He was also known for his charitable contributions and created the Vermeer Charitable Foundation, donating to local and worldwide charities. Vermeer was presented the award posthumously.


The John Pappajohn Iowa Business Competition winner, BodyViz, creates vivid 3D visualizations of MRI/CT scans on the PC including virtual surgical tools. The competition consisted of a six-month long competition, where more than 60 business plans were submitted and reviewed. The contest led to eight businesses presenting to a judging panel in the finals. The judging panel included the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) representatives and judges from the Iowa Small Business Development Centers and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.


“We want to thank John Pappajohn for his continued and generous support of entrepreneurship and small businesses in Iowa,” said IDED Innovation and Commercialization Division Administrator Karen Merrick. “With that support, we are proud to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Iowa Venture Capital and Entrepreneur Conference and congratulations to our award winners.”


The results of the competition are as follows:

1st Place – ($25,000) BodyViz - Curt Carlson, President & CEO, Ames, IA

Vivid 3D visualizations of MRI/CT scans on the PC including virtual surgical tools.


2nd Place – ($15,000) Innovative Energy Solutions, Inc. – Dr. Atul Kelkar, CEO, Ames, IA

IES has developed a technology (process and device) for conversion of waste hydrocarbons, such as refinery waste or plastics, into liquid diesel fuel.


Tie for 3rd Place ($5,000) Energy Control Technologies, Inc. – Paul Fisher, President & Nikhil Dukle, West Des Moines, IA

Customer-driven control system solutions that provide 1-year backpack on energy efficiency projects for machinery and industrial processes.


($5,000) Think Safe, Inc. - Paula Wickham, President, Hiawatha, IA 

Company engages technology that brings lifesaving applications and residual income opportunity to the world of first aid and emergency situations.


Honorable Mentions

$1,000 Bagolitas - Ron Meyer, President, North Liberty, IA

Manufacturer and wholesaler of fabric handbags, accessories and boutique products.


$1,000 LuCella – Dr. Nicola Pohl, President, Ames, IA

Provides custom carbohydrate-based reagents to accelerate immunology, biology, and vaccine discovery and for in-house diagnostics development.


$1,000 Springboard Engineering - Jordan Bruntz, President, Newton, IA

Provides unique engineering, measurement, and fabrication solutions to difficult and unusual problems.


$1,000 StarrMatica Learning Systems, LLC - Emily Starr, President, Clinton, IA

Creates educational content designed to enhance the effective use of technology in teaching reading and mathematics.


The 10th annual Iowa Venture Capital and Entrepreneur Conference and Iowa Venture Forum are currently being held in Des Moines. The conference offers companies, entrepreneurs and investors a broad range of networking opportunities, informational workshops and presentations.


The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers are located at Drake University, Iowa State University, North Iowa Area Community College, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. The centers provide entrepreneurial education and business support, partnering with agencies like the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED), Entrepreneurial Development Centers (EDCs) and local entrepreneurs to assist with funding and other business needs.


The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is located on the North Iowa Area Community College campus in Mason City and provides college level courses and degree programs in entrepreneurship, as well as comprehensive consulting services for business start-ups, existing industries and owner transitions in the North Iowa region. Space is available for start-up businesses in the North Iowa Business Incubator. For more information, contact the NIACC JPEC at 641-422-4111.

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