New and startup businesses in Iowa are invited to enter a contest for the chance to win up to $25,000.

This marks the 12th year for the competition sponsored by venture capitalist John Pappajohn. Randy Pilkington, director of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Northern Iowa, says judges will decide the top three submitted business ventures.

“We give away $50,000; $25,000 for first, $15,000 for second, and $10,000 for third place,” Pilkington said. The competition is designed to stimulate business development in the state and provide support for entrepreneurial ventures.

“Any venture that’s been in business for four years or less, that’s located in Iowa, or newer startup businesses, we hope they’ll consider entering,” Pilkington said. Businesses entering the contest must submit an online application by May 15.

“After May, we narrow the group down to maybe 15, 20, or 30 businesses and then we take them through another round of interviews. That usually runs through August and then we have the finals in September,” Pilkington said.

The winners will be recognized at a special awards luncheon on September 21 in Des Moines.