Spring 2024 Registration now open!

Mentor & volunteer registration

Educator & administrator registration

April 10, 2024

Iowa City, IA | 9:00AM-3:00PM

Registration closed for educators and students

April 26th, 2024

Cedar Rapids, IA | 9:00AM-3:00PM

Registration closed for educators and students

May 2, 2024

Ottumwa, IA | 9:00AM-3:00PM

Registration closed for educators and students


The Jacobson Institute presents startup events engaging high school students and educators in one-day, fast paced entrepreneurial excursions. HS students work in teams with entrepreneurs/business & industry partners to solve problems they face using entrepreneurial solutions that drive innovation forward. This is authentic, experiential learning at its best!

Thanks to sponsors, DesignDash is provided to Iowa students, educators, and community partners at no cost.


Iowa high school students and their teachers. Entrepreneurs and business/industry partners who want to get involved.

Target Audiences: Entrepreneurial-minded, Startup/Innovation, Engineering, Design, Hackers, Tech Gurus, Problem Finders & Solvers, Creatives, Gamers, 3D, Artists


Each teacher registers a maximum of 10 students for the day-long startup event. Registration will be determined by a combination of the following: date of registration, number of schools/school districts represented. Registration will be confirmed 4 weeks prior to the DesignDash event. The teachers attending will be actively engaged and able to earn graduate credit for their participation.

Read more

Read about the DesignDash Spring 2023 Event

Read about the DesignDash Spring 2022 Event

Spring 2024 sponsors

We are very grateful to the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and College of Education, Great Prairie Area Education Agency, Hills Bank, Alliant Energy, Grant Wood Area Education Agency, and Greater Iowa City, Inc. for sponsoring DesignDash!

Iowa, Great Prairie AEA, Hills Bank, Alliant Energy, Grant Wood AEA, Greater Iowa City, Inc.


Events this spring


Total Student participants since 2022


Total Schools participated since 2022

Fall 2023 DesignDash Results

"Design Dash is an excellent opportunity for students to collaboratively 'test-drive' entrepreneurship by solving problems that occur daily."

Ally Schmidt, DesignDash Mentor

Innovation programs for students and educators

Innovator Competition

Students - every Fall and Spring you have the opportunity to submit your business idea to win up to $1,500 in capital seed money!

Teachers - invite your students to submit their ideas!

Business Horizons

Students - Business Horizons is a five-day innovation simulation bringing students (grades 9-12) of all experience levels from across the state of Iowa together to gain a better sense of how their skills connect to the business world and the real world. Held annually in the summer.

Teachers - 2 day, onsite, professional development offered by BizInnovator Startup. Held annually in conjunction with Business Horizons, more information to come for 2024!

Startup Weekend

Students and Teachers - join in this community weekend entrepreneurial event!  Held annually in the summer - stay tuned!

"As a mentor, I was inspired and energized by the commitment and creativity of student groups... all in a day's work. If they can do it, so can I."

Alex Taylor, DesignDash Mentor

Educator opportunities

Professional development and opportunity for high schoolers to earn college credit

Curriculum toolkits