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Greater Des Moines Partnership to host multiple events during Global Entrepreneurship Week

The Greater Des Moines Partnership will host several workshops and events for startups as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which takes from Nov. 8-12.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is a massive campaign to celebrate and empower entrepreneurs in every country and community around the world — especially those individuals who face structural barriers or may have never considered the idea of launching their own startup.

“There is significant startup activity happening in Greater Des Moines, and champions across Iowa are dedicated to building the ecosystem where startups can grow and thrive,” said Diana Wright, Startup Community Builder at The Partnership in a release. “We encourage those who are building their own startups to participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week events to gain knowledge and access resources to help speed up success.”

Here are some of the events taking place in Des Moines.

Sales For Startups

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, ISA Ventures and the Greater Des Moines Partnership will host Sales For Startups. The event will provide a crash course for sales strategies and tactics for startups. Attendees will learn how to determine the right customers, book meetings with decision-makers, build relationships, close with confidence and more.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Capacity is limited to 26 people to follow COVID-19 guidelines. Those interested can register here.

Raising Capital Seminar

On Wednesday, Nov. 10, The Partnership will host a Raising Capital Seminar. Startup companies will learn about capitalization tables, equity compensation, managing an investment close and more on the road to raising equity financing. This event is ideal for businesses that are on the verge of rapid growth but need money in order to take the next step.

The event will take place from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Capacity is also limited to 26 people to follow COVID-19 guidelines. Those interested can register here.

Female Founder Fireside

The Partnership, ISA Ventures, and Techstars Iowa will host a Female Founder Fireside from 5 – 7 p.m. at Gravitate Coworking Downtown. This discussion will start at the conclusion of the Raising Capital Seminar and is intended for women that are interested in building and scaling business in central Iowa. The event is targeted toward females interested in building and scaling businesses. 

Greater Des Moines Partnership to host multiple events during Global Entrepreneurship Week | 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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