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Middle Bit: Electric vehicle charging network could come to seven Western states

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on Wednesday said he and governors from six Western states have a plan to create a network of fast-charge stations for electric vehicles driving in the region, according to

According to the story, eleven interstate highways—including Interstates 25, 70 and 76 in Colorado—were highlighted as initial targets in a network covering 5,000 road miles.

The announcement was made during Hickenlooper’s address to the National Governors Association’s Energy Innovation Summit in Denver. The states that could potentially be involved are Utah, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and New Mexico.

There are more than 20,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road. As of June, 10,000 electric vehicles had been registered in Colorado.

And as of Jan. 1, new buyers in the state of Colorado qualify for a $5,000 tax credit.

Kansas City earns $5 million fund for startups

An effort between Missouri and Kansas earned the Midwest a $5 million fund for startups that could begin investing as early as 2018, according to a story Monday on

According to the story, the Enterprise Center in Johnson County announced it secured a $150,000 Economic Development Administration Seed Fund Support grant. The grant will be allocated to staffing and administrative expenses to raise the $5 million seed fund.

Once active, the fund will make investments of up to $150,000 in companies raising pre-seed and seed rounds. But to tap the fund, firms must secure a 1:1 match from another investor, grant or lender.

In addition to Kansas City entrepreneurs, the fund will help startups in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa.

The area proposal was one of 41 selected in 2017 from more than 217 applicants nationwide.

What else happened…


Cutting-edge solar technology on display in Denver – The Denver Post

Eight possible locations for Amazon headquarters bid in Colorado – The Denver Post


Massive development along Chicago River is new option for Amazon HQ2 – Chicago Tribune


Forbes to headline AgTech investor conference in Des Moines –

Debi Durham wants to pay it forward after cancer battling cancer – The Gazette


Small-business premiums on the rise in Minnesota – StarTribune

Inspired or frustrated, more women are starting businesses – StarTribune

Q&A Clay Collins wants to make cryptocurrencies mainstream –


Can technology predict deadly shooters before it’s too late? –

Three vital lessons I learned starting up in the Midwest –

Boeing to buy autonomous and electric flight firm Aurora – The St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Becoming an entrepreneur starts with changing your mindset – The Columbus Dispatch


Foxconn factory selects Mount Pleasant site – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Middle Bit: Electric vehicle charging network could come to seven Western states | 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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