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TAI announces 2023 public policy priorities, Legislative Launch

 The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) has released its 2023 State and Federal principles and priorities leading into the 2023 Iowa legislative year.

“Heading into the 2023 session, we are eager to build on our policy positions and have identified key areas of focus centered on data privacy and cybersecurity-related legislation,” said Brian Waller, president of TAI in a news release. “We will also actively support legislation that advances talent development, computer science education, innovation, and making Iowa a more inclusive and equitable place to build technology careers.”

On February 8, 2023, TAI will host its annual Legislative Launch at the AC Hotel by Marriott Des Moines East Village in Des Moines.

TAI 2023 Legislative Principles:

  • Champion policies that attract human and financial capital to Iowa.
  • Elevate Iowa (rural and urban) as the premier state for technology workforce.
  • Promote policies that foster a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Ensure Iowa’s K-12 through college education systems prepare Iowa students for successful high-tech careers.
  • Support the investment, development, implementation, and utilization of emerging technologies in Iowa.

TAI 2023 Legislative Priorities

  • Connectivity: Facilitate high-performance internet connectivity using the best available technologies for all Iowans.
  • Cybersecurity: Build awareness of known and emerging cyber threats and incentivize smart cybersecurity practices to protect Iowans and their data.
  • Data Privacy: Standardize data privacy policies, ensuring Iowans have access to and control of their personal data.
  • Business Growth: Support funding for programs that drive growth and innovation within Iowa businesses and communities, including the Iowa Economic Development Authority and their Angel Investor and Innovation tax credits.
  • State & Federal Funds: Ensure TAI is a recognized stakeholder in State & Federal appropriations for technology investments.

TAI 2023 Federal Policy Agenda

Develop, Attract and Retain a Highly Skilled, Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

  • Reform immigration policy, increasing access to high-skilled workers
  • Support K-12 through college STEM education

Support Infrastructure Appropriate for a Thriving Technology Ecosystem

  • Federal uniformity of data privacy legislation and reporting requirements
  • Facilitate access to high-performance internet connectivity using the best available technologies

Promote Innovation and Company Growth

  • Tax policy that incentivizes innovation, growth and competitiveness
  • Access to capital for early-stage companies
TAI announces 2023 public policy priorities, Legislative Launch | 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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