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REV Pitch Competition will award $10,000 in cash prizes, applications now open

TS Bank has partnered with Advance Southwest Iowa Corporation and several other local companies to host REV, a small business pitch competition on Tuesday, October 19, 2021. Entrepreneurs and business owners will have the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges to win up to $10,000 to grow their business.

TS Bank originally started REV in 2015 in an effort to spur economic growth and encourage business owners to continue pursuing their dreams. During the first four competitions (2015-2017, 2020) the bank awarded over $85,000 to the winners.

At last year’s virtual event in 2020, top winners included Full Fledged Brewing Company with the grand prize of $5,000 to expand canning into other retail spaces and grocery stores, Tandem Works was awarded $2,500 to build an on-demand, online course for business owners to help them identify their brand messaging; P@YD Omaha used their $1,250 funds for front-end web development and app development and Farmhouse & Flowers of Atlantic, Iowa, used their $1,250 funds to continue renovations on their existing retail space and create a custom branded experience.

From the 2021 pool of applicants, TS Bank and Advance Southwest Iowa will select up to five businesses where applicants will be judged on aspects of their business.

“We have absolutely loved partnering with TS Bank to host REV in southwest Iowa. The prizes awarded through REV can act as a catalyst for growth, but we realized last year that the impact of the pitch competition goes far beyond the money, the connections made can actually be more significant,” said Advance Southwest Iowa Corporation Entrepreneurial Development Manager, Niki Ferguson.

This year’s event will be held on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center in Council Bluffs. To apply, visit and download the REV application. The application deadline is September 10, 2021. 

Previous coverage

Full Fledged Brewery wins 2020 REV Pitch Competition, takes home $5,000 -Dec. 16, 2020

REV Pitch Competition will award $10,000 in cash prizes, applications now open | 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
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