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University of Iowa News Release

Release: Dec. 12, 2003

UI Student Wins Statewide Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Award - Wettach

University of Iowa student Megan Wettach of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, won a $5,000 seed capital grants in the statewide Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition, earning the top honors among 12 finalists.

The competition, sponsored by venture capitalist John Pappajohn of Equity Dynamics Inc. and the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers (JPEC) in Iowa, was created in 2000 to encourage and help Iowa college students pursue their interests in starting their own companies.

Nominations were collected through the Centers and 12 regional award winners advanced to the state competition Dec. 5 at the Des Moines Downtown Marriott. The regional award winners gave oral presentations to Pappajohn and his Equity Dynamics staff, who judged the business plans based on their content and viability.

Wettach, a communications major at the UI, started her first business, Premier Prom & Pageantry, as a 17 year-old high school senior. That year she was recognized by Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as a young entrepreneur in his "2002 State of the State Address."

After owning her own apparel business for two years, she discovered an untapped specialty market for pageant suits. She has now developed the Megan Amanda Collection, a line of interview suits for pageant participants.

Other statewide winners and their business plans were:

Michael Keller and Bryk Lancaster of the UI for Flexon Solutions, a company founded in August 2003 to provide cost-effective highway safety solutions including a pavement marking retroreflectometer.

Steven Davis and Brian O'Leary from the UI for Bio::Neos, a provider of bioinformatics software solutions and tools for biomedical research.

Regional winners and their business plans included: Paul Harmon, ID Nine (Drake); Jon Von Gillern, Delphi - Intranet And Hosting (ISU); Tammie Calvert, Dreamland Web Page Design & Computer Repair (NIACC); Dulce Culpepper And Claudia Ramirez, Mundo Latino Llc. (UNI); Jeffrey Myers, Uganda Coffee Company (ISU); Henry Munoz And Charity Yesis, (UNI); Augusto Canales, Melissa Harris, Laurie Degeus, Vitaly Pecharsky, Jr. and Willy Nunez, Construction Lingo (ISU); Kelley Bahl, Portraits By Kelley (NIACC); and Heather Neagle And April Ciavarelli, Why Not? (NIACC).

"We are looking forward to working with the three winning University of Iowa teams to assist them launch their new ventures. All of the regional finalists in the competition should be extremely proud of their efforts. They are shining examples of the types of innovative students we see through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers. It was a great day for all involved in entrepreneurial education," said David Hensley, director of the UI JPEC.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; Program: David Hensley, UI JPEC, 319-335-1023