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Pappajohn Center program awarded for interdisciplinary nature, empowerment

Pictured+from+L+to+R%3A+Dennis+Barber+III%2C+Eastern+Carolina+University%2C+USASBE+Awards+Chair%3B+Julienne+Shields%2C+President+and+CEO%2C+USASBE%3B+Judi+Eyles%2C+Director+of+the+Iowa+State+University+Pappajohn+Center+for+Entrepreneurship%3B+Thomas+Pittz%2C+University+of+Tampa%2C+USASBE+Chairperson+of+the+Board.+%28Courtesy+of+Iowa+State+Pappajohn+Center+for+Entrepreneurship%29
Pictured from L to R: Dennis Barber III, Eastern Carolina University, USASBE Awards Chair; Julienne Shields, President and CEO, USASBE; Judi Eyles, Director of the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship; Thomas Pittz, University of Tampa, USASBE Chairperson of the Board. (Courtesy of Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship)

The Pappajohn Center received the Model University Accelerator/Incubator Award from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) for its CYstarters program.

Iowa State was one of four finalists for the award category and was recognized for having support from the deans across campus and its interdisciplinary nature. 

“[Iowa State has] many community members actively involved in the program, and a high percentage of the students stay in business after participating in the accelerator,” said Dennis Barber III, the USASBE awards chair. 

The award recognized the CYstarters summer accelerator program for empowering young entrepreneurs to transform ideas into viable, scalable businesses. 

CYstarters is an 11-week startup accelerator available to Iowa State students or recent graduates during the summer. Students in the program can earn $6,500 for participating or $13,000 for a team of students. 

“CYstarters is the ultimate experience,” said D’essence Morris, a 2022 apparel, merchandising, and design graduate of the program, as posted on the Pappajohn Center website. “If you have an idea that you want to pursue as a business, definitely take on this program. The connections and resources that you are exposed to are amazing, and you won’t regret taking on the venture.”

The award was received by Judi Eyles, director of CyBiz Lab and Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, on Jan. 13 in Alabama. 

The three finalists joining Iowa State were Northern Kentucky, Wake Forest and McGill University based in Montreal. 

“The programs competing for this year’s award were all outstanding,” Thomas G. Pittz, board chair of USASBE said. “It was extremely difficult to make a final selection as every one of the finalists showed so very well how their program is strengthening its model for success in entrepreneurship.”

The Pappajohn Center won the USASBE Model Program Award in 2021 before Eyles spent two years serving as the awards chair for USASBE.

The award was given during the USASBE annual conference hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Entrepreneurship Program. 

The Pappajohn Center was established in 1996 and hosts pitch competitions and various programs to help students who work for startups, including CYstarters.

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