Entrepreneurs will pitch at the fair

More than 150 Iowa State University entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas to visitors at the university's exhibit during the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 8-18. The exhibit, "The Great Iowa State Pitch Off: STANDING InnOVATION!" will be in the Varied Industries Building.

Standing Innovation state fair logo

The theme of Iowa State's fair exhibit is part of an ongoing university initiative to nurture a campuswide culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and to provide resources and support for students, faculty and staff to turn their ideas into reality.

"We are showcasing the energy and creativity of our students, and how that results in innovation and entrepreneurial projects that impact Iowa communities and businesses," said Carole Custer, director of university marketing. "Iowa State has never before had daily events of this magnitude at the state fair."

Pitching to win

Students from every college, as well as ISU Extension and Outreach and recent alumni -- more than 150 participants in total -- will compete in the pitch-offs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the first eight days of the fair. There will be 14 pitches -- two per hour -- every day. Each entrepreneur will have up to five minutes for their presentation, followed by a five-minute Q&A with the audience. Each hour, audience members will vote for participants to move to the semifinals by dropping a soybean into a Mason jar.

From the daily pitches, 56 semifinalists will emerge to pitch again Aug. 16-17, four per hour from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., for a panel of judges. 

Seven winning pitches will be announced on the last day of the fair. A "Best in Show" winner will receive a $5,000 award. President Wendy Wintersteen and senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert will present the awards during a 1 p.m. ceremony Aug. 18 at the ISU exhibit.

A legacy of innovation

The university's fair exhibit will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Approximately 350 volunteers will help out at the ISU exhibit over the course of the fair. When students aren't pitching, fairgoers will be able to watch videos showcasing students pitching over the past year, highlights of how each college advances entrepreneurship and innovation, and submissions from the "Pitch Me ISU" contest -- an opportunity for undergraduate students to share their world-changing ideas if time and money were no issue. One Pitch Me submission will be selected for a $1,000 award.

In addition, the exhibit will showcase Iowa State innovations throughout history -- one highlight from each college, as well as ISU Extension and Outreach and the library. ISU alumni innovators and entrepreneurs will be able to submit their company name and contact information to keep up-to-date on opportunities to mentor, network and collaborate with ISU entrepreneurship programs and initiatives.

"Fairgoers will witness firsthand what happens when our university and the state of Iowa invest in the next generation," Kerns said. "And Iowa State students will see that they can make a difference right now. You don't have to be 40 to make an impact on the world."

Kerns describes innovation as "the capacity to imagine and create in a novel way," and entrepreneurship as "the capacity to capitalize on that innovation to create opportunities for yourself and others."

Athletics trophies, ticket drawings and more

Visitors can view athletics trophies from the past year, have a temporary waterless Iowa State tattoo applied, and pick up a football poster or schedule card. They also can enter drawings for:

  • Tickets for the Nov. 23 Iowa State vs. Kansas football game
  • Tickets for any Cyclone volleyball match of the 2019 season
  • $25 ISU Book Store gift card
  • ISU Alumni Association annual membership

Four winners will be announced daily.

The ISU Book Store will be part of the Iowa State exhibit with a wide variety of merchandise, gifts and apparel, including new Farm Strong T-shirts and fall game day gear. 

Check off your ISU Extension 'bucket list'

ISU Extension has a "bucket list" for fairgoers this year: a to-do list that adds Iowa State pride to a day at the fair. Search for red 5-gallon buckets at venues around the fairgrounds, each indicating ISU Extension events and places to check off the list.

Several bucket list items can be checked off on Friday, Aug. 9, including Cy's participation in a mascot grape stomp at Grandfather's Barn and ISU Extension weed scientists' annual weed identification contest on the Agriculture Building lawn.

4-H Day on the Grand Concourse, also Aug. 9, is a time to learn about all things 4-H, receive a sunscreen stick and take a photo with inflatable Cy. 4-H is headquartered at Iowa State and available in all 99 counties.

Nearly 2,000 4-H members will exhibit 5,000 livestock entries in the livestock buildings, and 4-H'ers will have 4,500 contest entries on display in the 4-H Exhibits Building. The colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences will award scholarships to selected 4-H'ers. Photo frames at Grandfather's Barn, Discovery Garden and outside the 4-H Exhibits Building are reminders of the connection these venues have to Iowa State.

Special events include 4-H Healthy Living Day on Aug. 10, Invent STEM on Aug. 11, Iowa 4-H Global Citizenship Day on Aug. 15 and the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame induction program Aug. 18.

ISU veterinarians staying on top of animal health

Three veterinarians from the veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department, College of Veterinary Medicine, will oversee the health of all animals at the fair. They are:

  • Assistant professor Dr. Troy Brick
  • Clinical assistant professor Dr. Rachel Friedrich
  • Postdoctoral research associate Dr. Megan Hindman

Fourth-year veterinary medicine students Kacey Leigh Klemesrud, Allysa Koethe, Rachael Ostrem and Mikalah Smith will assist the veterinarians.