IOWA CITY—Last May entrepreneurs, creatives, small-business owners and a host of others descended on downtown Iowa City for EntreFEST, a three-day event billed as “Iowa’s entrepreneur conference.”
While the conference typically moves to different cities around the state, its success last year and input from members of the community convinced organizers they were on to something in Iowa City.
“Having access to the Library, two hotels, the Englert Theater, there are so many places for us to go,”organizer Amanda West told SPN of downtown Iowa City. “It gives it more of that feel of SXSW in Austin where it feels like a whole experience.”
The state’s three regent universities—the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa—will be presenting partners of EntreFEST 2015, which will be held May 20-22, 2015. The universities are joined by the state’s five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers in supporting the event as it continues to grow.
“It’s inspiring that the regent universities, which are usually known as rivals, came together and are supporting what I view as the future of Iowa by collaborating around this and setting a tone for what’s possible when we collaborate and work together,” West said.
EntreFEST will again be broken into specific industry tracks, ranging from high-growth startup founders and small-business owners to ecosystem builders and corporate innovators.
After last year’s event, West says one of the things EntreFEST’s organizers realized is they wanted an easier way to get more organizations and startups involved in the conference. So in 2015, groups interested in hosting an event—a party, an open coffee, you name it—around EntreFEST can register their party to be part of the official three-day slate of activities.
West says announcements about some of the conference’s keynote speakers will come early next year, but in the meantime, early-bird tickets for the conference are now available.
Through Dec. 31, an EntreFEST full-access pass is available online for $149. And if you can’t make it in person for the event, a video pass that allows you to access select talks is available for $99.