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Iowa celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week

Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off today with a host of events throughout the week. 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.

Here are some of the events taking place throughout the state.

Sales For Startups | Nov. 8 | 8am-4:30pm

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. Capacity is limited to 26 people to follow COVID-19 guidelines.

A Conversation with Black Business Owners | Nov. 9 | 12pm-1pm

Join this conversation to hear from black business owners about their experiences starting and growing a business. Learn about the successes and challenges they face and what resources helped them along the way or resources they wish they had access to.

TechTalk North Iowa | Nov. 9 | 5pm-7pm

This special edition of TechTalk takes place during Global Entrepreneurship Week and features a panel discussion with community innovator-entrepreneurs Billie Asmus, Founder of Silicone Studios, and Oscar Madong, NIACC engineering student and High Tech Hive participant.

Des Moines Venture School Local Launch Day | Nov. 9 | 5:30-8pm

Hear from the 12 companies that have participated in Venture School over the last few months. Local Launch Day will be set up ‘shark tank’ style. Teams will pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to win $5,000 in prize money for their business. This event is open to the public and will take place in the Sussman Theater at Drake University.

Global Innovation Fireside Chat | Nov. 9 | 5:30pm

UNI’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) is holding a Global Campfire chat Tue. Nov 9, 5:30 pm. This event will bn-person on the University of Northern Iowa campus’, Curris Business Building Room 1, and also be available to watch online.

Raising Capital Seminar | Nov. 10 | 8am-4:30pm

The Partnership is hosting 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. Capacity is also limited to 26 people.

Female Founder Fireside | Nov. 10 | 5pm–7pm

The Partnership, ISA Ventures, and Techstars Iowa will host a Female Founder Fireside 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 a business in central Iowa. The event is targeted toward females interested in building and scaling businesses. 

Networking Night + Panel Discussion | Nov. 11 | 4:30pm-7pm

Attendees will enjoy the opportunity to network with local entrepreneurs inside NewBo City Market’s Rotary Hall starting at 4:30pm. A panel of area entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds will speak and answer questions about their journey to become small business owners. Attendees will learn about the successes and challenges they face and what resources helped them along the way or resources they wished they had access to.

Mason City Venture School Local Launch Day | Nov. 11 | 5:30-9pm

The Fall 2021 cohort of the North Iowa Venture School will compete in the Venture School Launch Day Competition. Each team will present their pitch to a panel of judges, followed by a Q&A. Up to $5,000 in prizes will be awarded. The event will be held via Zoom and in-person at the Muse-Norris Conference Center at NIACC.

Women’s Entrepreneur Lunch | Nov. 12 | 12pm-1pm

The panel will feature three local female entrepreneurs—Veronica Tessler, owner of Yotopia; Sheila Davission, owner of Revival Iowa City; and Rachael Scott, owner of Cafe on the Go. The panel will be moderated by Kate Moreland, President of the Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD) and Founder of Kate Moreland Coaching.

Kohawk Startup Weekend | Nov. 12 & 13 | 8:00am-8:00pm

Kohawk Startup is a 24-hour event designed to infuse entrepreneurship into the Coe experience. Coe students attend, pitch ideas, form teams, and create presentations for their startups. If you are interested in joining, email for additional details.

ISU Innovation Prize | Nov. 12 & 13

The ISU INNOVATION PRIZE is an incentive competition at Iowa State University that takes place on campus Students, faculty and staff, and the entrepreneurial community are invited to participate. The Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative co-host the event.

Iowa celebrates 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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