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Middle Bit: Google awards $175,000 to five Iowa nonprofits

Google announced this week the five Iowa nonprofits that will each receive $175,000 through the company’s Impact Challenge Iowa program.

Of the five winners, one nonprofit will win an additional $125,000 decided by public votes. The public will then have a chance to vote for their favorite idea. The organization that receives the most votes by August 30 will get an additional $125,000 in funding.

Click here to vote for one of the five nonprofits.

Awards winners:

  • NewBoCo
  • iJag
  • Four Mounds
  • Match-Learn-Launch

HomePainter receives $25,000 from IEDA

HomePainter has been awarded a $25,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board for product refinement, market planning and key personnel.

“We’re beyond thrilled and grateful to have been awarded this POCR loan,” said McClarnon in an announcement. “Since its 2018 launch, HomePainter has built a lot of momentum. This POCR loan will allow us to proceed on that upward path at a high intensity as we continue to beta-test and fine-tune our quoting algorithm, meet sales and financial goals, convert part-time software developers into full-time employees and hire key personnel.”

McClarnon said the continuum of support received from the IEDA has been “highly beneficial to his fledgling business.”

HomePainter participated in the IEDA’s Iowa Student Internship Program, which provided a grant allowing the company to hire student interns. “It’s a job-creating program that at the same time helps small businesses like ours financially through wage-sharing. The program enabled us to hire the workers we needed to help us build our platform,” McClarnon said.

NewBoCo Annual Meeting set for Sept. 19

NewBoCo will hold its Annual Meeting on Thursday, September 19.

NewBoCo will celebrate its accomplishments in entrepreneurship, innovation, and education and will also share its efforts and plans for the future in these three areas.

Tickets to the event are $50 each or $500 for a table of 10.

Middle Bit: Google awards $175,000 to five Iowa nonprofits | 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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