The University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) has joined with Iowa’s West Coast Initiative in northwest Iowa to strengthen and extend the reach of its Venture Mentoring Service program.

According to a news release, Iowa JPEC is reaching out to serve previously underserved areas of Iowa, including Plymouth, Monona and Woodbury counties, which work together as part of Iowa’s West Coast Initiative. The partnership will allow Iowa’s West Coast Initiative to help recruit entrepreneurs and mentors who will apply for the VMS program, the release said.

“Iowa’s West Coast Initiative is committed to building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in northwest Iowa and connecting entrepreneurs to resources to help them succeed,” Jesse Hinrichs, entrepreneurial community navigator for Iowa’s West Coast Initiative, said in the release. “This partnership with the University of Iowa and the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center provides a valuable resource to entrepreneurs and small businesses in our area, while enhancing the reach of the program.”

The VMS program is in its second year after the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers statewide started piloting the program in the fall of 2021 working with entrepreneurs in their regions. The centers received a grant in 2021 from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to establish a mentoring program for entrepreneurs. The centers work with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to implement its VMS model that is licensed and used by more than 100 organizations to mentor entrepreneurs.

More information about the statewide VMS program is available at this link.