IEDA awards $500,000 in funding for Three entrepreneurial projects

Three entrepreneurial service providers have been awarded grants via the Iowa Economic Development Authority‘s (IEDA) Entrepreneurial Investment Award program.

The program provides financial assistance to service providers that offer technical and financial assistance to entrepreneurs and startup companies seeking to create, locate or expand a business in Iowa. In total, the three organizations received $494,000 thousand in grant funding.

Among the criteria for assessing this round of applications was how the initiative adds value to the Iowa entrepreneurial ecosystem, specifically those that support and enhance diversity.

Here are the three organizations that received grant funding:

NewBoCo is a Cedar Rapids nonprofit that supports entrepreneurship, innovation and tech education to serve startup businesses and provide skills for all individuals in Iowa to thrive. NewBoCo is partnering with Kiva, a nonprofit organization, to create a hub that gives diverse entrepreneurs access to a microlending platform to raise zero percent interest, zero fee, extended grace period loans from active lenders motivated by social impact. The project was awarded a $110,000 grant from the EIA program to pilot the hub.

Drake University’s The Startup Hub Des Moines is working in partnership with the University of Iowa to connect minorities, immigrants and other underrepresented entrepreneurs to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iowa. The partnership will work to provide one-on-one counseling and special entrepreneurship programs, addressing a lack of access, educational resources and mentorship. The project was awarded a $184,900 grant from the EIA program for recruitment and training.

The 24/7 Black Leadership Advancement Consortium (24/7 BLAC) aims to increase professional development, stimulate the creation of wealth and financial empowerment, and build networks of influence with navigational support for Black Professionals. In partnership with community organizations including the University of Northern Iowa, Red Cedar CV and Grow Cedar Valley, 24/7 BLAC offers the Black Business & Entrepreneurship Accelerator (BBEA), the only all-black accelerator program in the state. The project was awarded a $200,000 grant from the EIA program to support the accelerator.