Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program graduates 25 Iowa business owners

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program has announced the graduation of 25 business owners from its eighth cohort of the program in Iowa.

The members of the cohort are small business owners from across Iowa who represent a diverse range of businesses and industries.

The Iowa 10KSB program, which is coordinated by DMACC and hosted at the College’s Ankeny Campus, is a statewide collaboration among all 15 of Iowa’s community colleges.

“What an astounding impact the 10KSB program had on our business as we aim to grow,” said program graduate Paris Schnepf of Jeid Studio in Des Moines. “We’ve been equipped with invaluable information that has given our young team the confidence to take on the challenges, dream big, and have a better knowhow across all facets of business — financials, operations, people development and growth. 

“The teaching staff and network of small businesses owners truly make it an unforgettable experience. While peer-based learning can be intimidating at times, the program was formatted to get you outside of your comfort zone and become a unit in a short 12 weeks.”

Nationwide, nearly 67 percent of business owners who complete the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program report an increase in revenue just six months after graduation. Additionally, 47 percent of program alumni report an increase in net new jobs. 

The program is available to small business owners across the state of Iowa twice per year. 

Small business owners who are interested in participating are invited to apply on the program’s website,

Here are the most recent graduates of the program:

  • Jorge Amezcua – GS Solutions, Des Moines
  • Kirstin Belken – Kissed Peach Wax Saloon, Waukee
  • Sean Brown – Impact Coffee, Decorah
  • Brent Cameron – Iowa Insurance Consultants, Ankeny
  • Steve Casteel – Payteva, Urbandale
  • Nigel Chapman – Central States Mobility, Johnston
  • Nick Darland – HomeRevisions, Ankeny
  • Paul Desmond – Form Function Studio, Cedar Rapids
  • Chris Friest – The Floor Doctors, Des Moines
  • Brandon Hart – HartSmart Products, Urbandale
  • Martina Hoogland – Woudstra Meat Market, Orange City
  • Grant Jacobson – The Hometown Veterinarian, Marshalltown
  • Tony Kellen – The Fine Twine Co, Alton
  • Bryan Ladd – Kaizen Health and Wellness, Grimes
  • Emma Lahodny – Campbell’s Nutrition, Des Moines
  • Elisa Lyons – Iowa Family Counseling, Kalona
  • Sydney Marshman – Happy at Home Consulting, Slater
  • Suzy McGrane-Hop – Gilded Pear Gallery, Cedar Rapids
  • Tom Mulholland – Mulholland Grocery, Malvern
  • Paris Schnepf – Jeid Studio, Des Moines
  • Tyler Scott – Des Moines Printing, Ankeny
  • Mark Smith – Known Labs, West Des Moines
  • Eric Sovern – Cardboard Robot, Decorah
  • Nathan Todd – Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Company, Decorah
  • Paige Witte – Paige Witte, Inc., Stuart
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program graduates 25 Iowa business owners | 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
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now