The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Student-run startup gives students business resources

Joseph Cress
The Pappajohn Business Building is seen on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

When Isabel Reed entered her idea for an app into the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Ideastorm competition during the fall of 2017, she had no idea the opportunities that were awaiting her.

She created Co-Found It, a platform providing individuals in the Iowa City community with resources, professionals, and experts to help expand and cultivate business ideas.

“The overall goal of Co-Found It is to offer students from all different academic backgrounds an opportunity to easily find each other and collaborate on ideas big and small,” Reed said.

Though her idea was seen as successful, she found herself struggling to get the project successfully onto its feet.

“I was still running into certain fundamental challenges that could have easily been solved if I had a bit more connections to student support,” Reed said. “With so many great minds on this campus, I figured there must be an easier way for us all to find each other and collaborate on our ideas.”

Reed eventually met UI student Dylan Schreder, and they decided to work together to find a way to provide individuals with the necessary connections to get their ventures started.

“In the age of the Internet, social media, and dating apps, a solution gradually became obvious: an online student network that would serve as a hub for collaboration and innovation,” Reed said, “A place where we could easily browse through student profiles and projects without having to go to a bunch of events, shake a bunch of hands, and honestly, get exhausted.”

Reed said that while it has been a challenge to spread the word about Co-Found It without spending lots of money, students have respond positively and the team is speaking to a variety of classes about the venture.

Though mainly targeted at students, the venture also provides resources to established professionals and businesses.

“For the Iowa City community, Co-Found It can grant existing professionals the chance to join in entrepreneurial activities, network with community members based on common core values, and provide resources for existing business owners to continue to improve their business practices,” Schreder said.

Co-Found It has also received attention from other entrepreneurial groups on campus.

“There are so many students at the University of Iowa and other universities around the country who are interested in founding, or joining, or contributing to a startup,” said Jeff Nock, the leader of the UI Founders Club. “An online environment for startups to connect with talent and resources will help these startups grow faster and stronger and further the economy in our area.”

Reed and Schreder hope to expand their online presence — Schreder said there is a downward trend in new business growth in the United States, but an upward growth in entrepreneurial certificates each year, showing a need for proper support and resources.

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