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ISU is hosting a series of workshops for entrepreneurs this Spring

Beginning this week, Iowa State University will be hosting a series of virtual workshops for student entrepreneurs. The “Start Something Series” is designed for student entrepreneurs who are exploring the idea of entrepreneurship and those who want to learn more about marketing their small businesses.

A total of six workshops will take place over the course of the next two months. Below is a list and description of the workshops taking place.

I Have An Idea, Now What? (March 23, 12pm – 1pm)

Great! You’ve got an idea. It’s time to move on to customer discovery, idea validation, and market research. Don’t worry. We’ve got the tools to help you get started.

I Need Help: Building An A-Team (March 30, 12pm – 1pm)

Need someone who has your back? Or five? Let’s chat about outsourcing work, building co-founder agreements, and managing human resources.

Get ‘Er Done: Prioritization & Time Management (April 6, 12pm – 1pm)

There are enough hours in the day. Let’s figure out how to leverage them.

Make It Legit: Naming to Trademarking (April 13, 12pm – 1pm)

It’s really happening! Time to make it official. Learn more about registering your business, copyrights and trademarks, and business licenses.

Ka-ching: Pricing, Sales, & Where to Sell (April 20, 12pm – 1pm)

*cash register rings* That’s what you’ll hear when you learn how to price your products/services and start making sales!

What I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Business (April 27, 12pm – 1 pm)

Not their first rodeo. Hear from a panel of entrepreneurs on what they wish they knew before starting their businesses!

ISU is hosting a series of workshops for entrepreneurs this Spring | 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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