Entrepreneur Events & Resources

Entrepreneur Resources

Accelerators

Global Insurance Accelerator – The Global Insurance Accelerator is a mentor-driven business accelerator designed to foster innovation in the insurance industry by supporting startups targeting the global insurance industry.

Iowa AgriTech Accelerator – The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator is mentor-led, vertically focused, and funded by AgTech innovators. We are seeking early-stage companies with an idea, intellectual property or prototype for agricultural innovation. We provide $40,000 in seed funding, purposeful networking with our mentors, office space in our beautiful office in Des Moines, residency at a local extended-stay facility for 100 days and graduation during the World Food Prize with hundreds of global industry and academic thought leaders in attendance.

Ag Startup Engine – The Ag Startup Engine is a private systematic program to fund AgTech entrepreneurs and help them towards success through mentorship and financial support.

Iowa Startup Accelerator – The Iowa Startup Accelerator is an intensive, structured program for Iowa’s entrepreneurs. The program focuses on tech companies who’s product addresses a marketplace problem big enough, and with a solution scalable enough, to grow dramatically.

Incubators

UNI – JPJ Student Business Incubator – The R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator, a program of the UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, is an educational learning laboratory designed to inspire and educate students interested in entrepreneurship and small business.  The program allows student business owners to explore business ideas with the assistance of JPEC staff, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and other professionals.

UNI – Innovation Incubator (CBGI) – The Innovation Incubator, housed at the UNI Center for Business Growth and Innovation, provides promising ventures the latest in technology resources, classroom and office space, and priority access to business experts and UNI professors across a diverse selection of industries.

TechWorks – TechWorks Campus is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing, research and development, innovation, education, commercial, and manufacturing center. Located in downtown Waterloo, the campus is comprised of 20 acres of development sites and 300,000 square feet of flex space.

Coworking

Mill Race Coworking – Mill Race Coworking is the Cedar Valley’s premier workspace for entrepreneurs, creatives, remote workers and the like. But Mill Race is more than a place to work. The core of who are are is our community – a place you can come to network, generate new ideas, learn, develop relationships, connect with talent, and build a business.

Cedar Valley Makerspace – The Cedar Valley Makerspace is the Cedar Valley’s only fully equiped industrial makerspace. Open to the public as memberships, the Makerspace is housed in 5,500 square feet of newly redeveloped industrial space on the Techworks Campus, tooling and equipment includes woodworking, metal fabrication, digital fabrication, 3D printing, electronics workspace and more.

University Programs

UNI – Advance Iowa – Advance Iowa is the State of Iowa’s comprehensive consulting program designed to work with midsized companies to enhance their growth.

UNI – JPJ Student Business Incubator – The R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator, a program of the UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, is an educational learning laboratory designed to inspire and educate students interested in entrepreneurship and small business.  The program allows student business owners to explore business ideas with the assistance of JPEC staff, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and other professionals.

UNI – Innovation Incubator (CBGI) – The Innovation Incubator, housed at the UNI Center for Business Growth and Innovation, provides promising ventures the latest in technology resources, classroom and office space, and priority access to business experts and UNI professors across a diverse selection of industries.

Grants, Funds & Angel Groups

BHEDC – The Black Hawk Economic Development Corporation exists to support new business startups and expansions through a combination of non-dillutive funding tools, including the SBA 504 loan program, intermediary and revolving loan funds, and technical assistance to support with loan applications.

IEDA – The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) mission is to strengthen economic and community vitality by building partnerships and leveraging resources to make Iowa the choice for people and business. Through two main divisions – business development and community development – IEDA administers several state and federal programs to meet its goals of assisting individuals, communities and businesses.

Red Cedar Seed Fund – The Red Cedar Seed Fund is a strategic fund focused on high-potential, early-stage companies in technology. The fund provides investors a broad view of innovation happening across the region, and helps startups tap into the financial and intellectual capital needed to scale.

Its goals are to be a catalyst for the Cedar Valley’s economic development efforts, building on the network of resources Cedar Valley startups can utilize and connecting them with the investor expertise to build their company like a serial entrepreneur.

Next Level Ventures – Next Level Ventures is a venture capital firm which invests in growing companies that are based in Iowa. We typically invest $1 million to $4 million for a minority ownership position in later-stage venture situations. Our team is looking for Iowa companies that have the potential to become big opportunities.

Farm Bureau – Renew Rural Iowa is designed to help increase the enterprise value of new and existing businesses in Iowa’s small towns through a program of business education, mentoring, and the financial resources to help businesses grow.

Wellmark Venture Capital Fund – The Wellmark Community Ventures Fund started as a $5 million fund for investment in Iowa businesses over five years. The fund still continues and is sponsored by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa and Equity Dynamics. Applicants to the fund, apply through any Pappajohn Center in Iowa. Typical funding is $10,000 to $100,000 in convertible debt financing. Applicant companies must be an Iowa-based, for-profit corporation. Ventures supported by the fund include technology, bio-technology, educational technology, advanced manufacturing, medical, and cutting-edge computer-related products or software.

Associations & Economic Development

SBDC – Established in 1981, America’s SBDC Iowa (SBDC) provides no cost, confidential, customized, professional business advice in all 99 Iowa counties to entrepreneurs and existing businesses. We also present affordable workshops that teach practical skills and techniques, conduct research, provide comprehensive information services, and offer access to subject matter experts in a variety of fields.

TAI – The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) is a statewide, member-based organization uniting Iowa’s technology community by connecting leaders, developing talent, driving public policy, and fostering diversity and inclusion. TAI’s members work together to support the industry and advance Iowa’s reputation as a technology state. The organization is a collection of technology leaders who have come together as Iowa’s statewide voice for technology.

IEDA – The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) mission is to strengthen economic and community vitality by building partnerships and leveraging resources to make Iowa the choice for people and business. Through two main divisions – business development and community development – IEDA administers several state and federal programs to meet its goals of assisting individuals, communities and businesses.

GCVAC – The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic and community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the greater Waterloo/Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber includes about 800 investors/members who represent more than 40,000 employees.

Events

EntreFEST – Iowa’s entrepreneur conference for business owners, startup founders, corporate innovators and community champions.

Product Camp Iowa – ProductCamp Iowa is a premier two-day event for anyone who builds, designs, markets, or manages a product or service for professionals, professors and students. Product Camp Iowa offers a brain trust of speakers on every topic related to product development from sales and lead generation to product iteration and refinement.

1 Million Cups Cedar Valley – Bio coming soon…

TechBrew – Iowa’s official technology meetup. TechBrew is a casual networking event for entrepreneurs, technologists, business leaders and upcoming tech talent.  Enjoy a beer on us starting at 5 pm every first Thursday of the month, and meet up with some of the most engaged and interesting technology companies from around the Cedar Valley.