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Iowa Gov. Reynolds will lead trade, investment mission to Israel in September

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will visit Israel in September on a trade and investment mission, according to a news release Tuesday morning.

According to the release, the trip is aimed at expanding trade and investment opportunities for Iowa and is being coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

“Trade and investment missions, such as this, uncover untapped opportunities for Iowa companies and serve as a forum to exchange ideas and promote collaboration,” Reynolds said in the release. “Our goal is to open doors for Iowa companies, promote Iowa as a place to do business and ultimately create jobs in our great state.”

The United States is Israel’s largest single-country trading partner, according to the release. Iowa exports exceeded $30.6 million in 2016 to Israel, a 14.5 percent increase from 2015.

From January to April of 2017, exports increase nearly 300 percent over the same period last year, according to the release.

Sectors that provide opportunities for Iowa companies include information and communication technology, agtech, biotechnology and animal feeds, among others.

“The Israel mission will help build on Iowa’s success in international trade and continue to strengthen our global partnerships,” Acting Lt. Governor Adam Gregg said in the release. “With the substantial increase in exports to Israel in just the first quarter of this year, it is important that we continue this positive and promising momentum.”

Iowa companies in all industry sectors are invited to participate in this mission. Companies looking to expand exporting opportunities can choose to have one-on-one, pre-qualified appointments targeted to their objectives.

The deadline to apply is July 7. For information and application details, visit

Iowa Gov. Reynolds will lead trade, investment mission to Israel in September | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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