The three winners in the Iowa Business Plan Competition now have a total of $50,000 in seed money to help start their companies.
The benefactor of the competition is Iowa entrepreneur John Pappajohn. The competition was open to businesses created within the last six years and Pappajohn says the 84 business plans that were submitted beat his expectations.
The first-prize winner in the competition was iSEEK, a firm set up at the ISU business park to develop an Internet search engine based on three-dimensional shapes instead of key words. Pappajohn says it’s a very sophisticated company that’ll need some more money to move ahead. All the judges declared it the number-one project, and iSEEK won $25,000.
A $10,000 prize for third place went to Latham Hi-Tech Hybrids, a hybrid corn seed company in Sheffield. Second place, and $15,000, went to Sirrah of Ames for a pig vaccine developed with Iowa State University.
Pappajohn says a thousand dollars each will go to four honorable-mention companies: an Iowa City company “bio-informatics” firm called Bio-Neos; a genetic seed corn company from Iowa City called Miller Seeds; Solo Direct Connect, a Davenport wireless Internet Service Provider; and ThinkSafe, a high-tech commercial first-aid-kit company in Hiawatha.