Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

NAWBO Iowa launches Business Institute for women

NAWBO Iowa, a Des Moines-based organization devoted to women business owners, is launching a new Business Institute this summer.

The NAWBO Iowa Business Institute is a 7-month program designed for women business owners who own an established business but have not yet reached $1 million in revenue. The Business Institute will focus on business growth by enhancing business skills, building like-minded connections, and receiving education through engagement. 

Tamara Kenworthy, President and Founder of On Point Strategies, is the Co-Director of the Institute along with Donna Miller.

“It’s really about empowering business growth,” said Kenworthy. “It’s not a leadership institute. It’s totally different programming and curriculum. This is an actual focus on a business with the ultimate goal being to empower the participants in the program to create and expand their business plan.”

All classes will meet in-person in the Des Moines area on the second Tuesday of each month, starting next month until January 2021.

“We’re focusing this program on what we’re calling the ‘missing middle.’ So many programs out there today are focused people just starting their business or on larger companies,” said Kenworthy. “There are studies that show there is really a big gap in programming for these types of businesses and that’s what a lot of our businesses are. They fall into that missing middle.”

The institute plans on accepting 10 to 12 businesses per cohort and holding the program annually, Kenworthy told Clay & Milk.

“This first year, NAWBO Iowa is subsidizing the rate because of COVID-19,” said Kenworthy. “We also think that, and know from talking to people, that this type of programming is something people still want right now.”

The application deadline for the program is June 30.

NAWBO Iowa launches Business Institute for women | 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