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Middle Bit: NewBoCo launches 99 Counties for Coding campaign

NewBoCo announced this week the launch of 99 Counties for Coding, a fundraising campaign that will measure the impact computer science classes have on students, teachers and school districts across Iowa.

“99 Counties for Coding offers a unique opportunity to support educators seeking computer science experience throughout the state, making concepts like problem solving, collaboration, and how to create with computers accessible to all,” said Samantha Dahlby, NewBoCo K-12 Education Director & program manager, in a news release. “Teaching future generations to think critically is a component for life-long learning that we, as a quickly evolving society, won’t regret.”

The campaign will take place all of next week, running Aug. 12-16. NewBoCo’s stated goal is to receive a donation from every county in Iowa.

So far, 364 elementary, middle, and high school teachers have brought computer science classes to over 18,000 Iowa students through the training they received in one of NewBoCo’s programs. 

This summer, 83 middle and high school teachers, including two educators from Minnesota, participated in one of NewBoCo’s three workshops.

Starting in this month, a series of 11 K-5 Computer Science Fundamentals workshops, made possible through the STEM Scale-Up program and Computer Science is Elementary grants, are also scheduled throughout the state with the goal of students coming into contact with technology driven learning experiences.

Predictive Health Partners accepted into gener8tor 2019 cohort

Des Moines-based insurtech startup Predictive Health Partners has been accepted into the gener8tor 2019 accelerator cohort.

Predictive Health Partners helps organizations detect and reduce, on average, 30% of their wasteful healthcare spending. The company currently has 4 active platform clients and 14 in the onboarding process.

Over 800 companies applied for the 2019 cohort and just five were accepted. Predictive Health Partners will relocate for the duration of the 12-week program, allowing them to fully take part in Minneapolis-based accelerator.

Predictive Health Partners was also one of ten companies to participate in the 2019 cohort of the Global Insurance Accelerator in Des Moines earlier this year.

Denim Summit set for Oct. 16-17

Denim’s third annual Denim Summit has been announced and will be held in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 16-17.

Denim Summit is a live event experience that brings together leaders from top financial services companies in insurance, banking, and wealth management for two days of exploration, collaboration and inspiration.

Middle Bit: NewBoCo launches 99 Counties for Coding campaign | 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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