October 6, 2010 (DES MOINES) A number of Iowa start-up companies shared the spotlight Wednesday, winning awards at the Iowa Entrepreneurs Conference that will help them develop their businesses.
Seven emerging companies were recognized as finalists of the John Pappajohn Iowa Business Plan Competition, which is intended to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in Iowa. Winners were announced as a part of the entrepreneurial conference, sponsored by the Iowa Department of Economic Development and its partners.
- Winning the grand prize was West Des Moines-based Energy Control Technologies. Founded in 2008, the company designs, manufactures and implements automation systems for the oil and gas, biofuels, and industrial and manufacturing markets. ECT's systems improve operation safety and minimize the amount of energy consumed. ECT received $25,000 for its winning business plan.
- In second place was IDx, an Iowa City company founded this year that is working to commercialize low-cost eye disease screening tools developed at the University of Iowa. The company received $15,000.
- LuCella Biosciences of Ames placed third in the competition and received $10,000. The company, founded in 2008, provides carbohydrate-based reagents to accelerate immunology, biology and vaccine discoveries.
- Four companies received honorable mentions and a $1,000 prize. They are Cabin Coffee Franchising Inc., Growth Design Energy Mt. Valley LLC, J&J Solutions, and Pathovacs.
Lifetime achievement award to Kum & Go Co-founder Krause
At the conference Wednesday, the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers presented a lifetime achievement award to Kum & Go convenience store co-founder W. A. (Bill) Krause.
Krause and his father-in-law and business partner T.S. Gentle started their business in 1959 with the purchase of the Viking Oil Company in Hampton, which they renamed the Hampton Oil Company. The business sold gasoline and staples such as milk, bread and eggs to local residents.
Krause and his silent partners purchased additional outlets, with the North Star trademark created in 1961. It helped every dealer station within the Hampton Oil Company present a consistent image, setting the direction for the future of branded gasoline.
Business grew and developed with the formation of new companies and new names. The widely recognized Kum & Go trademark was introduced in 1975.
Kum & Go, based in West Des Moines, has grown to become the third-largest private owner-operator of convenience stores in the United States with more than 435 stores in 11 states.
Convenience Store People Magazine named Krause one of the Top Ten most Influential CEOs in 2005, and CSP Magazine named Krause the industry's Retail Leader of the Year in 2008.
Krause's business success has not been limited to convenience stores. His management helped make Liberty Bank the fastest-growing bank in Iowa.
Today, Krause Holdings include Kum & Go, Liberty Bank, Solar Transport, Teamwork Acres, Dalla Terra Ranch, the Des Moines Menace, Amici Espresso, Kash Express and Liberty Motor Cars.