UI students win entrepreneurial competition

University of Iowa students Michelle Higgins and Jon Barns placed first at the 2023 placed first at the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition on April 28. CREDIT UNIVERSITY OF IOWA.

Two University of Iowa students and their businesses placed first at the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition and won $5,000 each. 

The competition was held virtually on April 28. 

Michelle Higgins won the Medical Technology division with her business, AugmENT. AugmENT is a simulation technology company that advances the skills of ear, nose, throat, and head and neck surgeons for enhanced confidence, competence and patient outcomes.

Jon Barns won the Interstate Commerce division with his business, Arblu. Arblu created a telescoping ski pole that snowboarders extend when they need to maintain momentum in flat areas. When it isn’t needed, the pole retracts to be stored on a forearm or thigh.

“We are very proud that two University of Iowa students won awards,” Lynn Allendorf, director of the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), said in a release. “Although it is bittersweet that the competition was held on the day of John Pappajohn’s memorial service, no doubt he would have been impressed by the passion of two more entrepreneurs from his alma mater as they continue their entrepreneurial journey.”

Seventeen individuals from the UI, University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, Iowa State University and North Iowa Area Community College participated in the event. 

Marketia Moore from University of Northern Iowa won the Localized Business category. Her business is Momma ‘Nem Soul Food and Catering.

Iowa JPEC is the hub for entrepreneurship education and outreach at the UI.