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Tickets now on sale for Young Entrepreneur Convention

Tickets are now on sale for the fifth Young Entrepreneur Convention (YEC). Now hosted at Iowa State University’s new Student Innovation Center on the campus of Iowa State University, the 5th anniversary of YEC is set to take place Saturday, April 4.

Those interested in taking part in the pitch competition portion of the conference can purchase tickets and then apply when the pitch competition registration opens on Monday, March 16, 2020.

Click here to purchase tickets today.

Applications open for Iowa Edtech accelerator

There is still one month left to apply for the first cohort of the Iowa Edtech Accelerator.

The Edtech Accelerator is an intensive, highly focused 14-week program aimed at early stage edtech companies. The first cohort of the accelerator program will begin March 2, 2020. Startups must be located in Iowa. The first cohort will be about five companies, and will take place in Iowa City.

Startups accepted into the program will receive $25,000 for 6% equity through the ISA Ventures Fund. Up to $75,000 in additional funding will be available to the startups if milestones are met following the program.

The program is a full-time commitment, requiring attendance during orientation week—March 2-7—and thereafter on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for scheduled sessions. On the other days each week, you’re working on your business priorities as needed.

The Edtech Accelerator will collaborate with regional business resources and education industry leaders in the state including ACT, Higher Learning Technologies, Iowa City Area Development Group, the University of Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Applications close on Jan. 22, 2020.

Nominations open for 2020 Prometheus Awards

The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) is pleased to announce the nomination period is now open for the 2020 Prometheus Awards presented by LWBJ.

The most prestigious recognition for Iowa’s technology industry, The Prometheus Awards acknowledge individuals and companies impacting Iowa’s over $10 billion technology industry. Finalists and award winners epitomize great talent, solidifying Iowa’s reputation as a technology state.

“The Prometheus Awards are the only statewide awards ceremony to exclusively recognize Iowa technologists. These awards shed light on the past year’s extraordinary achievements made by leaders and innovators right here in our state. The awards are essential to the drive and determination of Iowa’s technology industry,” said Brian Waller, President of TAI.

Award categories include:

  • FinTech & InsurTech Company of the Year
  • AgTech & BioTech Company of the Year
  • Manufacturing Technology Company of the Year
  • Software Development Technology Company of the Year
  • IT Service Provider Technology Company of the Year
  • Startup Technology Company of the Year
  • Creative Technology Solution of the Year
  • Best Technology Company Culture
  • CEO of the Year
  • CIO/CTO/CISO of the Year
  • Emerging Technology Leader of the Year
  • Technology Community of the Year 
  • Technology Company of the Year – Small/Medium
  • Workiva Large Technology Company of the Year

The nomination period open through February 3, 2020.

Finalists will be announced in early March, 2020. Winners will be announced at the Prometheus Awards on Thursday, April 9, 2020. Click here to submit a nomination.

DMACC’s online business degree ranks sixth in country

Des Moines Area Community College’s online business degree is one of the nation’s top-ranked programs, according to, an online magazine and resource dedicated to students.

The publication ranked DMACC’s Business Administration AAS degree sixth in the country after evaluating 1,604 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. for their business administration associate degree.

The programs were measured using a scoring system that analyzes each program’s curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation and postgraduate employment.

More than 1,000 students are enrolled in DMACC’s Business Administration program each year, with nearly one-quarter of those students pursuing the degree through online classes.

The full list of ranked programs can be found here.

Tickets now on sale for Young Entrepreneur Convention | 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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