Iowa VMS Joins with Iowa’s West Coast Initiative

Iowa VMS

The University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) has joined with Iowa’s West Coast Initiative in northwest Iowa to strengthen and extend the reach of its Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) program.

Iowa JPEC is reaching out to serve previously underserved areas of Iowa, including Plymouth, Monona, and Woodbury counties that work together as part of Iowa’s West Coast Initiative. The partnership will allow Iowa’s West Coast Initiative to help recruit ventures and mentors who will apply for Iowa JPEC’s VMS program.

“With our shared values, it is a perfect opportunity to collaborate with Iowa’s West Coast Initiative,” said Jeralyn Westercamp, Iowa JPEC’s economic development manager. “This allows us to engage in new and important ways to support Iowa’s entrepreneurs.”

The statewide network of five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers received a grant in 2021 from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to establish a mentoring program for entrepreneurs. The centers work with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to implement its VMS model that is licensed and used by more than 100 organizations to mentor entrepreneurs.

“Iowa’s West Coast Initiative is committed to building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in northwest Iowa and connecting entrepreneurs to resources to help them succeed,” said Jesse Hinrichs, entrepreneurial community navigator for West Coast Initiative. “This partnership with the University of Iowa and the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center provides a valuable resource to entrepreneurs and small businesses in our area, while enhancing the reach of the program.”

Other VMS centers are located at Drake University, Iowa State University, North Iowa Area Community College and the University of Northern Iowa.