Middle Bit: IEDA approves funding for new projects

Last week, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board approved awards for four companies, which will assist in the creation of 478 jobs, the retention of six jobs and more than $52 million in new capital investment for the state. 

Lopez Foods, Inc. to expand in Cherokee 
Lopez Foods, Inc., headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will remodel a 285,000-square-foot vacant facility the company purchased in Cherokee. The project will include the installation of manufacturing equipment and computer hardware. Upon completion, Lopez Foods will produce Canadian-style bacon logs, fresh and frozen beef patties and other new product lines to be sold to an international restaurant chain.

Insurance company expands corporate headquarters in Des Moines 
In business for 60 years, Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company provides retirement and life insurance solutions for nearly 700,000 customers. The company is expanding its corporate headquarters in downtown Des Moines to accommodate anticipated company growth. The new office location will include approximately 83,000 square feet of leased office space and a complete tenant improvement build out.

Two Dubuque-based insurance companies establish joint venture
Cottingham & Butler Insurance Services, Inc., provides a full suite of risk management and employee benefits services. Heartland Financial USA, Inc. offers banking solutions for business and personal clients. The two companies have established a joint venture and will purchase the Roshek Building in downtown Dubuque to expand their base of operations.

GIA to announce 2020 cohort next week, hold welcome reception Jan. 29

Next week, the Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA) will announce the startups accepted into its 2020 accelerator.

To celebrate and introduce the accepted startups into the community, GIA will be holding a welcoming reception on Jan. 29 at the Northwestern Hotel building, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

GIA Managing Director, Nicole Gunderson, will give brief remarks at the reception, introducing the incoming startup companies.

Registration for the event is free.

Iowa AgriTech Accelerator opens applications Monday

On Monday, the Iowa Agritech Accelerator will begin taking applications for its 2020 cohort, the accelerator announced earlier this week.

Like in its first three years, startups selected to participate will receive $40,000 in seed funding, subsidized housing, office space throughout the incubator period, time with mentors and investors and opportunities to build strategic partnerships.

The 2020 Iowa Agritech Accelerator program will run from June 1 to Sept. 4 and will accept up to six startups worldwide.

Applications will close on March 30.

Intro to Des Moines Startup Scene set for Jan. 23

On Thursday, Jan. 23, Gravitate Coworking will be hosting its quarterly Intro to the Des Moines Startup Scene event with Geoff Wood, the founder and owner of Gravitate.

The event is a great opportunity to get a tour of the new Gravitate Coworking location and hear about the resources available for aspiring entrepreneurs at any stage or sector.

Wood will give a presentation sharing information about local accelerators, investors, incubators, advisors and other local resources for those interested in learning more about Des Moines’ startup ecosystem. Following the presentation will be a Q&A with Wood and another panelist, where attendees will have the chance to ask the two any questions they have.

Tickets to the event are limited and available now.

Geoff Wood is also the co-founder and Publisher of Clay & Milk.