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SBDC Iowa announces winners of 2022 Special Entrepreneurial Awards

America’s SBDC Iowa has announced the winners of its 2022 special entrepreneur awards. 

“We are honored to have clients who have worked diligently to move their businesses forward while showing a strong commitment to their communities and customers,” said Lisa Shimkat, State Director of America’s SBDC Iowa in a release. “We are delighted to be able to recognize their hard work and success with these awards.”

Below are the three winners of this year’s awards:

Think Big Award (Jackson Kimle, Kimle Aquaculture)

Jackson Kimle with Kimle Aquaculture is the 2022 winner of the SBDC Think Big Award. The Think Big Award recognizes an up-and-coming entrepreneur who has displayed extraordinary potential on their entrepreneurial journey. This award is given to an individual who not only develops their own business ideas, but encourages others to participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iowa.

“Jackson has been working with the Iowa SBDC at the Iowa State University center since 2016. I was instantly impressed with his passion for creating a sustainable ‘tank-to-table’ business model that provides fresh shrimp to consumers right here in the Midwest. Every time we connect he always has something to share about how they are pursuing and meeting key milestones,” said Dave Biedenbach, SBDC Mentor.

Tenacity and Grit Award (Krista Tedrow, No Opportunity Wasted)

Krista Tedrow with No Opportunity Wasted is the 2022 SBDC Tenacity and Grit Award winner. The Tenacity and Grit Award recognizes an entrepreneur who has an unstoppable spirit. Although they have faced challenges along their journey, they achieved their goals and success without giving up or backing down. They lift up others around them.

“I have the privilege of working with Krista on clarifying her growth goals for her company. She has great vision, energy and passion for her business and the success of other entrepreneurs.” Krista Tedrow has overcome adversity and is a role model to many,” said Kelly Prickett, Regional Director of the Indian Hills Community College SBDC.

Encompass Award (Terrence Thames, Cocoa Creative)

Terrence Thames with Cocoa Creative is the winner of the 2022 Encompass Award. The Encompass Award recognizes an entrepreneur who has a passion for not only growing their business but bringing others along with them. They incorporate giving back to their community, including others and doing what is right, directly into their business model.

“Terrence Thames is the perfect choice for the Encompass Award because when Terrence succeeds, others succeed,” said Austin Strawhacker, SBDC Iowa Associate State Director. “His passion for his community is infectious. I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Terrance for almost 10 years, and if you spend more than a few minutes with him, you will immediately see someone who embodies each attribute of the Encompass Award.”

SBDC Iowa announces winners of 2022 Special Entrepreneurial Awards | 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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