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From Military Service to Entrepreneurial Success: Here’s What to Expect at the 2024 Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference

Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference

April 22, 2024

Why You Should Attend the 2024 Iowa Veteran Entrepreneurship Conference on May 3 – 4, 2024

Entrepreneurship opens doors for individuals to turn their visions into reality. For veterans transitioning from military to civilian life, starting a business can be a powerful way to apply their skills and experiences. To assist these aspiring veteran entrepreneurs, the America's Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Iowa and the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship are co-hosting the third annual Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference on May 3-4, 2024, at the Pivot Bio Customer Success Center in Ames, Iowa. This conference is tailored for veterans, active duty, reserve military, National Guard and military families interested in entrepreneurship.

This year, we are thrilled to announce Allen Lazard, NFL player, Iowa State University alum, and founder of At the Top for Vets, as our keynote speaker. Thanks to Allen’s foundation, attendance for veterans, military personnel, their families and business partners is complimentary.

Conference Banner

Schedule of Events

  • Virtual Pitch Workshop (included, optional) on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Welcome Reception (included, optional) on Friday, May 3, 2024, 5:00 – 7 p.m.
  • Two Pitch Competitions (included, optional) May 3 – 4, 2024
  • Conference on Saturday, May 4, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Collaboration is Key

The Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference serves as space for collaboration, bringing key organizations and experts in entrepreneurship and business development to attendees. Through the combined efforts of SBDC Iowa, the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and various sponsors, the conference fosters an inclusive and supportive environment tailored to the unique needs of military veteran entrepreneurs. The conference encourages knowledge exchange, networking and the formation of strategic partnerships.

Education First

Education takes center stage at the Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference. The event offers a wide array of workshops, panel discussions and keynote speeches led by industry professionals, successful entrepreneurs and subject matter experts. These sessions cover essential topics such as business planning, marketing strategies, funding options, legal considerations and more.

Win Money for Your Business

For the second consecutive year, the conference will host two pitch competitions: one by the Iowa Veteran Entrepreneurship Conference and the other by the 11/11 Veteran Project. Attendees can pitch their businesses to a panel of experts and investors for potential funding. Founders receive valuable feedback and exposure to propel their businesses forward. A virtual pitch workshop will be held on Saturday, April 27 for those refining their pitches.

Access to Resources and Networking Opportunities

Access to resources and support is vital for every entrepreneur. The conference connects veteran entrepreneurs with a wide range of resources, including funding opportunities, government programs, business incubators and support services. By equipping attendees with the necessary tools and connections, the conference enhances their chances of success in the world of entrepreneurship.

Iowa Veteran Entrepreneurship Conference 

The Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference, co-hosted by SBDC Iowa and the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, provides a remarkable opportunity for veteran entrepreneurs to unleash their entrepreneurial potential. With its emphasis on education, access to resources and networking, the conference offers a comprehensive platform for veterans to learn, grow, and succeed in the business world. By attending this conference, veteran entrepreneurs can acquire the skills, knowledge and support necessary to launch and sustain successful business ventures.

Registration for the Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference is available at isupjcenter.org/event/iowa-veterans-entrepreneurship-conference or by contacting Jean Walsh, Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, at (515) 294-2776 or info@isupjcenter.org.

Learn more about veterans working in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses, including Chamber luncheons, roundtables and ribbon cuttings. You can also find live music happening each week thanks to the “Live Music This Week in DSM” blog series.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership celebrates the Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneur community and helps small businesses succeed with one-of-a-kind resources and opportunities for networking. Find out how other entrepreneurs have found success by reading their stories and attending local small business events in the region.

Lindsey Murray

Lindsey Murray is the Communication Specialist with the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.