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Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

Student Business Incubator

The R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator, a program of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), is an educational learning laboratory designed to inspire and educate students interested in entrepreneurship and small business.

In FY12, the JPEC served 1298 individuals. Of those 1298, the SBI program served 22 physical incubator business owners (who had 12 employees) and 41 affiliate incubator business owners. One of the successful businesses currently in the SBI program is Recycle Rite, owned by Brian Hoyer. Recycle Rite provides recycling services to more than 550 businesses and individuals in Cedar Falls and parts of Waterloo. The company is currently expanding its operations to provide recycling services to other towns in Black Hawk County as well as providing private refuse hauling.

The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center programs and its SBI program have graduated many successful entrepreneurs. Some of the successful businesses which have been launched from the incubator programs include: La Prensa (Hispanic) newspaper, BellyBling.net (now owned by ClickStop), WorkOutBox, Synn Clothing, TargetClick Marketing Solutions (now part of the Mudd Group), Travis Augustyn Construction, and the art of Beth Nybeck.

Student business owners explore business ideas with the assistance of JPEC staff and others. Students are admitted on a semester basis and must demonstrate adequate progress to remain in the program. Students are required to participate in John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center programs designed to increase the chances for entrepreneurial success. There are two types of incubation in the SBI -- physical (full) incubation and affiliate incubation. Students involved in full incubation receive a suite in the JPEC's facility located in the Business and Community Services building on the UNI campus. Students in the affiliate program may not be ready to occupy physical space in the incubator or the nature of the business may not warrant physical space. Affiliate businesses receive all of the services except physical space. Students graduate from the program equipped with the skills and experience necessary to create a positive influence on the Iowa economy.

SBI benefits include:

  • One-on-one technical assistance

  • Legal and accounting services

  • Seed capital programs

  • Market research assistance

  • Professional office space

  • State-of-the-art technology

  • Dedicated server space

  • Standard office equipment

  • Access to meeting facilities

  • Small business resource library

  • Training programs

  • Mentoring programs

  • Networking Opportunities