Legacy Of Entrepreneurship

“Our agriculture and life sciences alumni have begun an entrepreneurial tradition at Iowa State University. Twenty percent of our alumni have started for-profit businesses. Part of our challenge and opportunity is instilling that tradition in students by connecting them with alumni and one other.”

—Kevin Kimle, Director, Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative A recent survey of Iowa State University alumni who graduated between 1986-2006 proves the tradition exists.

  • 16 percent of ISU grads started at least one business
  • Most common: Firms serving agricultural markets followed by retail and information technology.
  • Undergraduates from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Design had the highest entrepreneurship rates
  • The entrepreneurship rate among Iowa State University graduates is more than double the rate of the general population
  • On average, alumni founded their first business 10 years after graduating
  • Nearly 79 percent of all businesses were still in operation (this is a much higher survival rate than the national average of 31 percent)
  • On average, entrepreneurs and former entrepreneurs earn more than their non-entrepreneur counterparts
  • Nearly 20,000 businesses were created (223,000 jobs).About 72 percent established in Iowa or Midwest.
  • These companies had 2007 revenues of $64 billion