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ISU to celebrate Women Entrepreneurship Week

Iowa State University will join more than 150 universities and colleges in celebration of Women Entrepreneurship Week, happening Oct. 19 to 26.

“It’s important for women to start businesses in Iowa, as they have many ways to solve problems and improve our quality of life. It’s our desire at the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship to build the blueprint for supporting women entrepreneurs in Iowa and beyond. We want to be the catalyst for women who aspire to start, grow, scale, or sell businesses,” said Diana Wright, marketing and program coordinator at the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.

Events happening throughout Women Entrepreneurship Week at ISU are:

Monday, October 21—Start Something While at Iowa State 

The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship staff will be on campus to meet with students pursuing ideas on next steps and to provide guidance with resources on and off campus. The entrepreneur help booth will be located ISU Library, outside the main entrance from 12-2pm. 

Tuesday, October 22—Women Who Create student panel 

As women entrepreneurs create in Iowa, it’s vital to gather and celebrate those who are proving they can start something, take the lead, and be successful. Join us for a panel discussion with female student entrepreneurs on why they create. The event is open to the public and hosted by the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship. 

Thursday, October 24—Women Who Create Conference 

The Women Who Create Conference brings together women entrepreneurs, women business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and individuals of all genders who support women entrepreneurs for a full day of workshops and speakers aimed at growing their business.

The conference will take place at ISU Research Park. Registration is $59 and limited to the first 50 people. 

Thursday, October 24—SheTalks 

Following the conference ending, there will be a community storytelling event to celebrate Women Who Create called SheTalks from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

 Taken from the Japanese inspired PechaKucha, SheTalks is a presentation style where each presenter shows 20 slides, each for 20 seconds. All of the six speakers are women, and will be speaking around the theme ‘Women Who Create.’

A full list of event details can be found here.

ISU to celebrate Women Entrepreneurship Week | 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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