Des Moines nonprofit Pi515 has received a $35,000 donation from now-closed StartupCity Des Moines to help fund the SMART Cities Summer Challenge.
StartupCity Des Moines formed in 2011 as an incubator and coworking space and closed in Sept. 2014. It was a public-private joint effort focused on growing the Des Moines startup community and is viewed by many as the inflection point that led to the modern startup ecosystem. This donation is the final disbursement of funds invested in StartupCity Des Moines.
The Pi515 SMART Cities Summer Challenge encourages students entering grades 9-12 to leverage technology based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and integrate an online population into new systems that make a city evolve into a SMART city.
“Our community partners recognized the value of investing in innovators and entrepreneurs when helping launch StartupCity Des Moines nearly a decade ago,” said co-founders Tej Dhawan and Christian Renaud in a joint statement. “Today, that original investment continues to pay dividends where proceeds continue to help sustain investments in innovators. We are proud to support Pi515 and its sustained efforts in building Greater Des Moines’ technology, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Pi515 programs are designed for underserved middle and high school students. Pi515 serves over 100 low-income youth, most of whom are immigrants, refugees, or identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. Pi515 programming creates a pathway to success in STEM-related careers for diverse youth by partnering with industry professionals who teach coding and other emerging technology skills. Another key emphasis for Pi515 is introducing middle school and high school girls to tech and entrepreneurship-related careers.
“We are thankful for this donation that will help high school students in our region and state learn skills that will help prepare them for the future workforce and make our community a better place to live and work,” said Nancy Mwirotsi, founder and Executive Director of Pi515. “The spirit of innovation that StartupCity helped foster in Greater Des Moines will carry over to these students who could be the next generation of startup business founders and entrepreneurs.”
Pi515 hosting 2021 SMART Cities Summer Challenge for Iowa high school students -June 15, 2021
Pi515 receives $100,000 donation from John Pappajohn, partners with entrepreneurial centers throughout Iowa -Nov. 10, 2020