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Middle Bit: Iowa State to host ‘Women Who Create’ conference next month

Iowa State University

A new conference aims to bring together women entrepreneurs, women business owners and entrepreneurs who support fellow women entrepreneurs to Research Park at Iowa State University.

The first annual Women Who Create conference will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on February 20 inside the Iowa State Economic Development Core Facility at the Iowa State University Research Park. The day-long conference will feature workshops and a panel discussion.

Diana Wright, creator and organizer for the Women Who Create conference, said she wanted to make sure this wasn’t just an inspirational event.

“We want to make sure there is some meat that people can take away and put into their businesses,” Wright said.

Immediately following the Women Who Create conference will be the, “She Talks” event that will feature six women entrepreneurs speakers; The lineup of speakers has not been released.

Wright said it’s important for entrepreneurs to invest in themselves and a conference like this can provide valuable resources that they otherwise might not know exist.

“Invest in yourself to gain experience through those workshops,” Wright says. “But I think it really matters to be around other like-minded people who are in the same shoes as you.”

Registration to the conference is capped at 50 people and costs $45. You can register here.

Two Ohio men design a ‘drone buster’

Two Ohio men designed and built the, “Drone Defender” to help protect United States troops from armed drone attacks, according to a story on

According to the story, the Drone Defender freezes enemy drones in place by disrupting radio and satellite control frequencies. It looks like a rifle. With one pull of the trigger, the rifle-shaped antenna severs the command connection between robot and controller from up to 1,300 feet away.

It’s been spotted with troops in Iraq.

What else happened…


minuteKEY—a Boulder-based network of self-service kiosks for accurate key duplication—raised $83 million in funding – The Denver Business Journal

Boulder’s Misty Robotics unveils its first personal robot – The Denver Post

Study: Legalizing marijuana could generate more than $132 billion in tax revenue and 1 million jobs – The Denver Post

Colorado companies receive $1 billion in venture investments in 2017 – The Denver Post


Shareholders approve Rockwell Collins sale to United Technologies – The Des Moines Register


Inside the coworking revolution –


California firm buying Chesterfield-based Cornerstone Mortgage –

Missouri attracts less venture capital in 2017 –

This St. Louis startup is trying to make real estate more transparent – SPN

K.C named a darkhorse to land Amazon HQ2 –


OnCore Golf announces a partnership with Omaha-based vGolf LLC. – SPN


Madison-based concert promoter Frank Productions sold to Live Nation –


Middle Bit: Iowa State to host 'Women Who Create' conference next month | 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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