Iowa State maintains strong entrepreneurship ranking

Students walk to the Student Innovation Center at Iowa State University.

Students walk to the Student Innovation Center at Iowa State University. Larger image. Photo by Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University.

AMES, IA — Iowa State ranked 11th in the nation in The Princeton Review’s 2023 annual survey of undergraduate schools for entrepreneurship studies. It’s the third year Iowa’s land-grant university has maintained this spot after jumping from 26th in 2019.

“Iowa State undergraduate students have access to quality entrepreneurship courses and programs in every corner of our campus, and it is this collective variety of experiences that makes our program one of the best.  We have worked incredibly hard to achieve this prestigious ranking, and we are thrilled to rank #11 in the country three years in a row,” said Judi Eyles, director of the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.

The Princeton Review also ranked Iowa State as 4th in the Midwest for 2023.  

The rankings are based on surveys with nearly 300 schools and 40 data points. That includes: the percentage of faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors; the number and reach of mentorship programs, scholarships, and grants for entrepreneurial studies; and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions. 

Along with a major and cross-disciplinary minor in entrepreneurship, Iowa State offers a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities for students.

"Students from across campus have ample opportunities to sharpen their problem-solving skills, work with diverse teams and make their ideas a reality at ISU,” said David Spalding, the Ivy College of Business’s Raisbeck Endowed Dean and Interim Vice President for Economic Development and Industry Engagement.

Student Innovation Center

Students in all majors can collaborate, design, build and test their ideas in the new Student Innovation Center. The state-of-the-art facility is a hands-on hub with makerspaces for Cyclones to learn something new, whether 3D printing, making chocolate or experimenting with virtual reality. The center is also home of the Innovate 1858 retail store, which showcases student entrepreneur products, and Sparks Café, a student-run coffee shop.   

ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

Students can pitch their business ideas and earn cash prizes in competitions each fall and spring semester with the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship. The Center also runs the CYstarters summer accelerator and CyBIZ Lab student consulting program.

Students in CyStarters working in the ISU Economic Development Core Facility.

Students in CYstarters working in the ISU Economic Development Core Facility. Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University.

CYstarters, an 11-week program, provides resources and accountability for students with business ideas. Students continue to work on their businesses during the academic year in the Center’s Entrepreneurship Hub space in the Student Innovation Center and connect with mentors through the Venture Mentoring Service program.

CyBIZ Lab employs 25-35 students per semester to tackle business and organizational projects. Interdisciplinary teams have completed 285 projects to date for startups, non-profits, small-medium-large businesses, as well as global companies, government groups and university centers. Students learn important project management, team collaboration, research, leadership, and presentation skills while delivering valuable results to clients.

The Center also places 20-30 students annually in one of over 100 startup companies located at the ISU Research Park. More information about this and other opportunities can be found on the ISU Pappajohn Center’s website

Global Recognition for ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

Last month, the Center received the 2022 Nasdaq Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence award for schools with more than 5,000 students. The prestigious award was created by Nasdaq in association with the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers for the purpose of recognizing the unique achievements and outstanding efforts of entrepreneurship centers across the world.

Selection criteria includes the center’s breadth and depth of programs and contributions to the advancement of entrepreneurship education.

Iowa State was also a finalist for the 2022 Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines award.