17 organizations receive state grants for innovation projects throughout rural Iowa

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has awarded a total of $300,000 in Rural Innovation grants to 17 projects across the state.

The Rural Innovation Grant Program supports creative, non-traditional ideas that focus on current issues and challenges faced by rural communities associated with the themes of community investment, growth, and connection.

“With access to supportive programs and creative ideas from the awarded communities, the projects will be used as models to be replicated across the state, serving as best practices,” said Debi Durham, director of the IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority in an announcement. “Both of the rural grant programs align with the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative to revitalize communities, and we are proud to support our rural areas.”

This is the inaugural round for the Rural Innovation and Rural Housing Assessment programs, which were developed in 2019 by the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative. There were 22 applicants for the first round of grants.

Here are a few of the 17 organizations that received funding:

  • Bellevue Community School District received $20,000 in funding to develop the “Innovating Bellevue” program, which will connect local entrepreneurs and business owners with Bellevue youth within a new Innovation Lab.
  • Welch Avenue, LLC received $20,000 in funding that will go toward opening a new Gravitate Coworking location at 200 East State Street in Jefferson.*
  • Pocahontas County Economic Development is receiving $20,000 in funding for its Jump-Start Accelerator Fund for Startup Businesses.
  • All Cultures Equal Inc. received $9,400 to create a community shared-use kitchen for entrepreneurs in Webster City.

A full list of the 2020 Rural Innovation Grant recipients is available here.

*Geoff Wood, owner of Gravitate Coworking, is also the Publisher of Clay & Milk.