When you think entrepreneurship,
think of Iowa State University!

At Iowa State, you have many entrepreneurial opportunities: a major, minor, online certificate, master’s, and PhD. These programs are all supported by an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that includes the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, the Student Innovation Center, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the Iowa State University Research Park as well as the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business.

Start Something!

Your opportunities in entrepreneurship are endless. You may choose to start your own business, hire employees, and become the engine of our economy. If you don’t want to start something, that’s OK! Use your entrepreneurial skills and join a startup, small business, large corporation, or non-profit organization. Entrepreneurial students fit in anywhere. We’re here to help guide and support you as you explore your options.

Create your own educational experience where innovation is nurtured. Through Iowa State’s Start Something network, you can find academic opportunities, all fostering innovation or entrepreneurship in your favorite area of study, which range from credit-earning coursework to capstone projects to internships.

At the Ivy College of Business, we have a long history of supporting entrepreneurs. It’s at the heart of what we do here.

Our role at the Ivy College of Business is to inspire, educate, and support students who have a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. We bridge the academic and business communities while supporting entrepreneurs both on and off campus.”

Dean David Spalding

David Spalding
Raisbeck Endowed Dean
Ivy College of Business

Choose the university ranked #11 for undergraduate entrepreneurship programs by the Princeton Review. That makes us #4 in the Midwest and #1 in Iowa!


Explore entrepreneurship at Ivy

Everything you need to explore the world of entrepreneurship, can be found here at Ivy, including world-class academic programs. Here, you have the full support of our professional career coordinators, advising staff, and internationally-known faculty who conduct high quality research.

The entrepreneurship major offers more than most. Here you have access to the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship staff and programs, including the new Student Innovation Center on central campus. These state-of-the-art resources enhance your classroom experience by providing opportunities to collaborate with other entrepreneurial-minded students across campus. Together, you can pitch your ideas, receive feedback, and network with successful entrepreneurs. Participate in CYstarters, the first student accelerator at Iowa State. Work part-time in the CyBIZ Lab where you collaborate with other students to solve challenges for real businesses. It will never be dull!

Iowa State’s entrepreneurship minor is an interdisciplinary curriculum that provides opportunities for students to learn about entrepreneurship – the process of creating value by recognizing and developing opportunities.  The entrepreneurship minor serves to complement the student’s major area of study in any college discipline at Iowa State.

Entrepreneurship master’s degree now available – the first in Iowa!

At Ivy, you will be immersed in an entrepreneurial ecosystem while you gain the knowledge, skills, and practical experience to prepare you to start and manage new business ventures independently — or within an established organization.

Being a successful entrepreneur takes more than initiative, determination, and a good idea. It takes know-how.  

Our graduate certificate in entrepreneurship and innovation focuses on strategies and resources for launching new ventures including: 

  • core concepts for new venture development 
  • how to position new ventures and innovations 
  • how to secure financing, investors, and customers 
  • marketing and growth strategy 
  • how to address risk and market volatility 
  • legal requirements and recommendations for new ventures 

Designed for adventurous go-getters who are ready to launch a new venture, our graduate certificate program will give you the tools and strategies you need to get your idea off the ground.

The entrepreneurship (ENT) specialization focuses on the fields of entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology, and is closely associated with the management specialization curriculum and faculty.

The goal of our program is to prepare you to compete for tenure-track positions at leading research universities in the United States and abroad. As a doctoral candidate, you will learn how to conduct impactful research. You are expected to develop a research pipeline and publish your work in top academic journals before entering the job market.

Entrepreneurship has been a theme at Iowa State for more than 25 years.

Entrepreneurship has been a theme at Iowa State for more than 25 years with much of it revolving around programs offered through the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and the Ivy College of Business. Staff at the John Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, which is part of the Ivy College of Business, are successfully collaborating with partners across campus to benefit student entrepreneurs. They offer many hands-on programs to prepare you for a bright future. A few examples include:

CYstarters is an11-week summer accelerator for Iowa State students or recent graduates to focus on a startup or business idea. You will receive $6,500 for individual or up to $13,000 per student team for the opportunity to spend the summer dedicated to achieving your startup goals and pursuing entrepreneurial aspirations. The selection process is competitive, with only a limited number of spots available.

CyBIZ Lab provides the opportunity for cross-functional teams of undergraduate and graduate students to work on business and organizational projects. You’ll gain hands-on experience working to solve real business problems. Companies and organizations receive potential solutions to business issues from a perspective outside the company.

ISU Startup Factory is a startup incubator helping researchers and inventors develop a roadmap to realize the societal and economic impact of their high-tech innovations. Our goal is to help innovators and founders move from “tech-speak” to “business-speak.”

These are all hands-on, model programs at Iowa State that elevate entrepreneurship and prepare you for a bright future in this exciting field. Learn more at the John Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship. View video.

Quick links

  • Ivy College of Business scholarships, learn more
  • Entrepreneurship scholarship opportunities, learn more
  • Entrepreneur Club, learn more
  • Okoboji Entrepreneurship Institute, learn more
  • Academic advising, learn more
  • Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society. This is the only honor society specifically for entrepreneurial students, learn more
  • Career coordinator devoted to entrepreneurship: contact Tanya Austin, assistant director of Career Services (515) 294-2542 or
  • Entrepreneurship seminar class: BusAd 292 (one credit). This is a great introduction to entrepreneurship, perfect for freshmen and sophomores. Contact Judi Eyles,
  • ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship | 515.296.6532

Your opportunities in entrepreneurship are endless.

At the Ivy College of Business, we have a long history of supporting entrepreneurs. It’s at the heart of what we do here.

Additional entrepreneurship successes

The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) introduced Iowa State University as the winner of the 2021 USASBE Model Program Award, the highest of the organization’s four prestigious annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards. The announcement was made January 8 as part of the USASBE 2021: Be Boldly Unscripted annual conference.

The USASBE Model Program Award recognizes colleges and universities that provide comprehensive, bold, high-quality educational programs that train future generations of entrepreneurs.

Innovate at Iowa State

A snap shot of successes

  • #11 Iowa State University ranking for undergraduate entrepreneurship programs —2023, 2022, and 2021 Princeton Review
  • 2017: launched an undergraduate major in entrepreneurship, the first at a public university in Iowa
  • Entrepreneurship is one of our fastest growing majors
  • 2017: launched our PhD program that year. At the time, it was only the eighth program in the country