Contest How It Works


Submit Your Dream:
Through January

Dream entries will be accepted starting on January 1st and end at midnight of January 31st. *** Deadline has been extended to February 13th.  
Post Dreams:

Staff will post dreams that comply with the related industry Rules and Regulations below. If applicable: entrants may also compete one additional regional contest.

February 16th - March 1st

Voting will take place starting on February 16th and will end at midnight on March 1st.  Votes earned will count for any/all Dream Big Grow Here contest(s) entered.
Pitch Off:
May 21st, 2015

The top dream receiving the most votes* and 4 finalist selections based on the entry data submitted will pitch their business dream to a panel of experts during a special track at EntreFEST.
*In the event the top business in the vote contest is not able to participate in the pitch-off, an alternative selection from the pool of entrants will become nominated.  Please be prepared to spend from 8 am until 8 pm on May 21st in Iowa City, Iowa for the industry and statewide pitch off events.  You must be present to win.




  1. Eligibility
    The MyEntre.Net "Dream Big Grow Here" grant contest is open only to legal residents of the State of Iowa. Participants under the age of 18 must have parental contest to enter the contest.  Participants must meet the requirements of their statewide industry contest before qualifying and applying to participate in any statewide and/or regional contest. Participants may only enter one "Dream Big Grow Here' statewide and one additional regional contest per calendar year, where eligible. Previous Dream Big Grow Here $10,000 1st place winners in the State of Iowa are not eligible to compete.

    Dream Big Grow Here Pitch Off time and location will be held during the full day of Thursday, May 21st in Iowa City, Iowa.  Please note: The individual registering MUST present at the Pitch Off events held at EntreFEST in Iowa City, Iowa from 8 am until 8 pm to be eligible to compete for the $5,000 and $10,000 prizes. The judging panels will make the final determination of the Dream Big Grow Here winners based on criteria explained in this one hour online webinar.

    Required Entry Requirements
    • Complete dream title, description of the use of funds, and contact information.  Images highly recommended in your entry.
    • A YouTube video; no longer than 3 minutes to be used in the evaluation process- can be entertaining, a commercial, or a brief pitch for your business case for your entrepreneurial dream.  Instructions in how to do this can be found here.
    • For the Manufacturing/Bioscience/Information Technology statewide industry contest, we are looking for the following criteria: Less than 200 full time employees, must be for profit and have sales (otherwise, please enter the pre-revenue contest), and generally be in the the NAICS code classifications of starting with 31, 32, 33, 23, 51, or 55.  UNI reserves the right to move dream entrants to a better fit contest where it is deemed appropriate.
    • It is highly recommended that potential entrants watch this webinar prior to entry into Dream Big Grow Here to find answers to frequently asked questions and for a complete overview of the contest.  There will be additional coaching requirements throughout the process and exclusive opportunities made available for finalists to engage in between the online voting period and pitch off event in May.
    • Employees of MyEntre.Net, the University of Northern Iowa Regional Business Center/Center for Business Growth and Innovation and the immediate family members of such employees (parent, child, sibling, spouse) and persons living in the same household as such employees (whether related or not) are not eligible. In addition, Partnering Sponsors and their affiliates and the immediate family members of such employees (parent, child, sibling, spouse) and persons living in the same household as such employees (whether related or not) are not eligible.
    • The University of Northern Iowa (contest host and primary sponsor) reserves the right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to disqualify any individual and any or all of his/her Application(s) and/or votes deemed in Sponsor's sole and absolute discretion to be (a) tampering or attempting to tamper with the entry or voting process or the operation of the Grant Program or any Sponsor website; (b) violating the Official Application Guidelines; (c) violating the terms of service, conditions of use and/or general rules; or (d) acting in an unfair or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, harass any other person or act fraudulently in any manner. Void where prohibited.

  2. Grant Program Period
    The opportunity to submit an entry in the grant contest begins 12:00 AM CDT on January 1st, 2015 (the first date/time you can submit an Application) and ends 12:00 AM CDT on February 1st, 2015. *** Deadline has been extended to February 13th.   Voting will take place beginning on February 16th, 2015 at 12:00 AM CDT and end on March 1st, 2015 at 11:59 PM CDT.

  3. How to Apply
    To apply for the Grant Contest visit and follow the links and instructions to complete your entry. You will need to apply first to an industry contest, then opt in to participate in this regional contest as well.  Once you complete an entry, it will be reviewed by University of Northern Iowa staff to make sure it conforms to our Nomination Guidelines (see our Nomination Guidelines listed below this Section).  You will receive an email letting you know we have received your submission. Within 72 hours you will receive another email letting you know if your submission has been approved or denied.  Some edits may be required before your submission is approved.

  4. Voting
    Individuals may vote for as many entries as they desire, but may only vote for each dream once per day, as defined by running every day from 12:00:00 AM until 11:59:59 PM.  To help prevent vote fraud, we have imposed a limit of one vote per entry, per day, per person.  Entries found in violation of the Voting rules may be terminated from the Grant Contest, and votes determined to be cast in violation of these terms will be promptly removed. Click here for details on how the voting system works.  Visitors will be required to use their personal Facebook accounts to vote.  If a user who wishes to vote does not have a Facebook account, they are able to create one for free here:  No data collected from Facebook will be used outside of voting verification, and voters will have the option whether or not to share their vote with their Facebook friends. Absolutely no cash in exchange for votes will be allowed in the contest.  Any entrant engaging in voting fraud will be immediately removed from the contest, period.  We take this very seriously folks!

  5. Nomination Guidelines:
    • The nomination must be in English.
    • The Nomination cannot include matter that infringes or violates the rights of another, living or deceased including but not limited to promotion, privacy or academic property rights;
    • The Nomination cannot belittle any brand names or trademarks;
    • The Nomination cannot belittle any parties involved or affiliated with the promotion and administration of this promotion including but not limited to Sponsor and administrators;
    • The Nomination cannot contain any matter that is obscene, hateful, distasteful, offensive, malicious, tortuous or libelous;
    • The Nomination cannot contain matter that encourages or promotes racist attitudes, hatred, harm or intolerance towards any individual or group or that encourages or promotes prejudice based upon gender, sex, ethnicity, disability, religion, national origin, age or sexual orientation; and
    • The Nomination must contain material appropriate for publication in an open forum (as determined by Sponsor and administrators ). For example, inappropriate material would include but not be limited to material relating to unlawful activities, property damage or threats thereof, profanity, threats of physical violence or material that is in violation of the laws and/or regulations in any jurisdiction where Nomination is created.

  6. Release
    By Participating in and/or accepting a Dream Big Grow Here Iowa Grant, you thereby release all contest Sponsors, administrators, the State of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, as well as their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, distributors, promotion agency and Dream Big Grow Here Grant Suppliers and each of their respective parent companies and organizations, and each such entity’s/company’s/organization’s employees, directors, officers and agents from and against any claim or cause of action, including but not limited to damage to or loss of property, personal injury or death, through participation in the promotion or receipt or use or misuse of any Dream Big Grow Here Grant.

  7. General Conditions
    Sponsor reserves the right to terminate, suspend and/or adjust the promotion or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures or any other factor impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the promotion, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Sponsors may take all necessary steps to verify information related to claims made by entrants.  If terminated, Sponsor, in its sole discretion may determine the Dream Big Grow Here Grant recipients from among all non-suspect, eligible Nominations received up to time of such action using the judging procedure as outlined above. At the Sponsor’s sole discretion, Sponsor reserves the right to prohibit and ban any individual it finds to be tampering with or altering the Nomination process or the operation of the promotion or to be acting in violation of the official rules or of those of any other promotion or in any unfair or disruptive manner, and void all associated nomination(s). Any attempt by any person to intentionally undermine the legitimate operation of the Promotion may be a violation of criminal and/or civil laws, and if such attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages and other remedies (including attorney fees) from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these official rules shall not constitute a waiver of that rule or condition.

  8. Limitations of Liability
    Through submitting an application for a Dream Big Grow Here Grant, Participants agree that:
    • Any and all claims, disputes and causes of action because of or connected with their application, the grant program and/or any grant will be resolved individually without remedy to any form of class action;
    • Any and all claims, judgments and awards will be limited to actual third-party, out-of-pocket costs sustained but in no event will attorney’s fees be awarded or recoverable;
    • Under no circumstances will participants be allowed to obtain any award for, and participants knowingly and expressly waive all rights to seek, punitive, incidental, consequential, or special damages, lost profits and/or any other damages;
    • They permanently waive any right to seek injunctive or equitable reprieve; and
    • They release and hold harmless the State of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, sponsors, all affiliated parties, and all of their employees and agents from any and all claims that any commercial, advertising, presentation, web content or any other material produced, presented, and/or prepared by or on behalf of Sponsor infringes the rights of participant as contained in any application or otherwise.

  9. Finalists and Winners
    Dream Big Grow Here grant contest winners will be awarded funds upon submission of receipts showing funds were used towards an existing business, or business start-up. Funds may be applied in any manner that is consistent with business idea presented in the application process.

    Finalists will be strongly encouraged to participate in special training opportunities and exclusive offers for business assistance lined up with partner business assistance organizations, like VentureNet Iowa business pitch consulting.

    Dream Big Grow Here Iowa finalists and winners may be required to do an interview with the staff from the University of Northern Iowa for promotional purposes of the site and the contest. Contest winners and finalists may also be asked to provide testimonials, and agree to multimedia recordings through the entire Dream Big Grow Here contest period.