A group of aspiring entrepreneurs from University of Northern Iowa will be among 25 teams vying for $215,000 this week at a national competition looking for the next big idea.

Virgo is competing this week at e-Fest, a virtual event being hosted by the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. 

Sponsored by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, and EIX.org, a non-profit online platform for entrepreneurship education, e-Fest celebrates student teams who submitted the top business pitches in a preliminary online competition. At e-Fest, student teams compete in a Pitch Slam, an Innovation Challenge and the featured event, the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge.  

Virgo is a freelance marketplace designed with intents for equitable exchange, meaningful connection, and efficient collaboration. Rotating the existing model, Virgo offers service-preneurs a rounded platform for client connection and communication through a routine investment that stabilizes expenditures and maximizes earnings. For businesses and clients seeking contracted skills, Virgo connects them with a compatible provider that matches their unique project needs and requirements. Competitive with other freelance marketplaces, clients submit a transaction fee on each project that gives them access to a comprehensive collaboration dashboard to communicate with their provider and stay up-to-date with project developments. Through intentional platform design, Virgo seeks to reduce communication disconnect and increase project satisfaction while simultaneously addressing ethical concerns currently realized in the freelancing industry. Our mission is to be a key piece in reshaping the gig economy in such a way that promotes the health of our service-preneurs, our businesses, and our communities. We are ready to change the model, create something meaningful, and create it right.

“Entrepreneurs will be more important than ever as we build back our economy,” said Laura Dunham, Associate Dean of Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. “It will be the work of entrepreneurs and innovators to reimagine a society and economy that works for all its citizens, that creates opportunity for all, that fosters equity, fairness and justice. It will be the work of entrepreneurs to create the businesses and generate the jobs that will restore and revitalize our economy.”

Check out Virgo's submission video here.


Schulze School of Entrepreneurship

The Schulze School at the University of St. Thomas cultivates the next generation of entrepreneurial problem solvers and innovators. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in entrepreneurship and corporate innovation, as well as community resources to support new ventures, family businesses and corporate entrepreneurs.