Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Middle Bit: Cedar Rapids-based EDC selected as recipient of 2019 SBA Growth Accelerator

Economic Development Center (EDC), a non-profit business accelerator based in Cedar Rapids, has been selected as one of 60 winners of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2019 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. 

The recipients represent accelerators and incubators across 39 states and territories and will receive a total of $3 million in awards to help support startups and entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations. Each accepted accelerators and incubators will compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each. 

EDC was founded in 2003 and in its first 15 years of operation, EDC entrepreneur members have raised and employed over $428 million in capital, generated over $1.8 billion in new revenue and over $529 million in new wages paid.

The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition was launched in 2014 with $2.5million in appropriated funds. 

Click here for more information about the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and a full list of award winners.

ISU opens Digital Manufacturing Lab

Iowa State University Digital Manufacturing Lab hosted its grand opening yesterday afternoon.

The lab will to introduce technologies that will help Iowa manufacturers improve and expand their business. Alliant Energy will use the space to provide advice and counsel to businesses, while also collaborating with ISU faculty and students on research opportunities and internships.

“Imagine if you could test run a production line, and try out some really promising new technology on a small-scale,” said Joel Schmidt VP of Business and Development at Alliant Energy. “Not only would you know if you have something that works, you also cut down on the time it would take to get that solution in place.”

Visitors were given a tour of three lab stations within the operation. One was digital printing, another was a digital scanner for measuring parts, and another station used robotic arms to manufacture.

“Our survey of manufacturers, three out of every four manufacturers in Iowa say in the next five years lack of workforce will limit their growth, they want to grow,” said Ron Cox, Director of the ISU CIRAS Office.

DSM Fashion Week to present Nightfall Fashion Show this weekend

DSM Fashion Week will hold its fourth annual Fashion Show September 28th, 2019.

The fashion show will take place from 4:30 – 9:00 pm at the Cowles Commons performing arts venue, permitting good weather. Otherwise, the show will be held at Gravitate Coworking Downtown.

A portion of the proceeds from the show will go to Pi515, an after school class that educates refugee 7-12th grade students on basic computer coding.

Tickets to the show are available now, starting at $25.

Middle Bit: Cedar Rapids-based EDC selected as recipient of 2019 SBA Growth Accelerator | 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
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now