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Iowa Business Council releases Economic Outlook Survey for Q4 2022

 The Iowa Business Council (IBC) has released its fourth quarter Economic Outlook Survey for 2022.

The report measures member expectations for sales, capital spending and employment for the next six months. If the index measures above 50, sentiment is positive. The fourth quarter survey’s overall economic outlook index is 59.26, up 0.51 index points from the third quarter report.

The survey results were essentially flat compared to the third quarter, stopping a three-quarter decline in overall optimism.

While the overall survey score stayed level, the capital spending and employment indexes declined. Capital spending expectations decreased by 2.08 index points to a value of 54.17 and employment expectations decreased by 5.69 index points to 55.56. Sales expectations increased 9.31 index points to a value of 68.06 compared to the third quarter.

83% of IBC executives listed workforce attraction and retention as a primary business challenge. 77% of IBC executives cite inflation as a primary business concern and 56% reported an unfavorable business climate as a top challenge.

From a workforce perspective, 94% of IBC executives surveyed report that it is “somewhat to very difficult” to hire employees while further reporting more than 7,600 currently open positions in Iowa.

“Despite continued concerns relating to workforce attraction and inflation, IBC members remain positive with respect to Iowa’s economic trajectory,” said Phil Jasper, Chair of the IBC in a release. “Iowa remains resilient in the face of difficult and growing economic challenges and we look forward to working with policymakers at all levels to ensure continued growth and prosperity for all Iowans,” he added.

The Economic Outlook Survey has been completed by IBC members on a quarterly basis since 2004.

Iowa Business Council releases Economic Outlook Survey for Q4 2022 | 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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