The Business Building Blocks Workshops are a series of three workshops for new entrepreneurs to learn some of the basic pieces needed for starting a business. These workshops will be taught across three months and three locations – each workshop will be taught each month at a different location.

Sponsored by: John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, Lichtenberger Engineering Library, and the Marvin A. Pomerantz Business Library

All workshops are free, but registration is required to attend.

Workshop Descriptions

Business Plan Basics
Have an idea for a product or service and want to turn it into a viable business? This workshop will cover the Business Model Canvas, a one-page business plan tool designed for new startups and small businesses, to keep track of customer segments, sales channels, income and outflows, and the value the startup provides to its customers. Adjacent topics including customer discovery and value proposition statements will also be covered.

Taught by Jay Cooper, Director, UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Undergraduate Startup Incubator. 

Identifying Key Players in your Market: Introduction to Industry & Market Information Research
Investigate and research your market to become more informed and make better decisions. This workshop will highlight databases and common themes that help entrepreneurs identify trends, key players and customers in your market.

Taught by Maddi Brenner, Business Outreach and Reference Librarian, Pomerantz Business Library.

Protecting Your Ideas: Introduction to Patents, Trademarks & Intellectual Property
Explore the hidden world of patents and trademarks. This workshop will feature a basic introduction to what a patents and trademarks are, the various types of patents in existence, and how to complete patents searches to begin the process. In addition to providing inventor exclusive rights to products, patents also give great detailed information on certain products and methods that can help you in the designing the development stages.

Taught by Kari Kozak, Director, Lichtenberger Engineering Library.
Note: The presenter is not lawyer.  This session is for helping you learn the basics about intellectual property and search for patents and trademarks, legal advice will not be provided. 

Workshop Locations and Time

  • Art Library DeCaso Classroom – Room 235C Art Building West  (ABW)
  • Engineering Library Creative Space – Room 2001C Seamans Center (SC)
  • Sciences Library – 3rd Floor (SL)

Workshops will be held 12pm-1pm with food provided as a Lunch and Learn.

Workshop Schedule

Select workshop to register

February 7 – Business Plan Basics, Art Library

February 14 – Identifying Key Players in your Market, Engineering Library

February 21 – Protecting Your Ideas, Sciences Library


March 7 – Protecting Your Ideas, Art Library

March 21 – Business Plan Basics, Engineering Library

March 28 – Identifying Key Players in your Market, Sciences Library


April 4 – Identifying Key Players in your Market, Art Library

April 11 – Protecting Your Ideas, Engineering Library

April 18 – Business Plan Basics, Sciences Library


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the Engineering Library in advance at