Announcing the Startup Iowa Awards

Clay & Milk is excited to announce the Startup Iowa Awards. The Startup Iowa Awards will celebrate the organizations and people keeping the Iowa startup ecosystem thriving. Among this year’s awards are Iowa Startup of the Year, Investor of the Year, Accelerator of the Year, Entrepreneurial Support Organization of the Year, and Student Entrepreneur of the Year.

Nominations will be accepted until Friday, Dec. 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm. The top five nominees from each category will be recognized in early January, and winners of the Startup Iowa Awards will be announced on Monday, January 18, 2021. There is a $15 fee per submission. All proceeds from the awards will go toward supporting Clay & Milk. Check out our FAQ page for more info about the awards.

Nominations are now open for our awards categories for the Startup Iowa Awards:

Startup of the Year

The Startup of the Year category recognizes startups with great potential that demonstrate the creative, strategic and innovative entrepreneurial spirit of Iowa’s startup communities. Nominees will be judged on a variety of factors including the quality of their business idea and plan, the strength of the founding team and their impact on Iowa’s entrepreneurial community. Eligible companies must be under 5 years old, under $1M in revenue, and be based in Iowa.

Investor of the Year

The Investor of the Year award will recognize an investment firm or angel investor who brings capital plus outstanding connections, advice and attention to Iowa startup companies. This award category recognizes all types of investors who bet on Iowa companies and serve as critical mentors and connectors. To be eligible, the investor must have made an investment in at least one Iowa-based company during calendar-year 2020.

Accelerator of the Year

Accelerators play a pivotal role in the tech and business ecosystem by supporting companies with innovation, funding, and connections into academic environments. The Accelerator of the Year Award will recognize the accelerator program that best supports early-stage, growth-driven companies through education, mentorship, and financing. Eligible accelerator programs must have had an active cohort during 2020.

Entrepreneur of the Year

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award will recognize the achievements of an individual founder, co-founder, President or CEO whose efforts deliver innovation, growth and prosperity as they build and sustain successful businesses that transform Iowa’s startup communities. Eligible individuals must be with a company under 10 years old, that is based in Iowa.

Non-founder Employee of the Year

Founders often get their fair share of recognition, but what about other employees? The Non-founder Employee of the Year Award will recognize an employee who is not the company’s founder or CEO but has been instrumental to their team’s success. Individuals should be in their role and/or with their company for a minimum of one year.

Entrepreneurial Support Organization of the Year

There are many organizations that support the ongoing growth of entrepreneurs and businesses throughout the state. The Entrepreneurial Support Organization of the Year Award will honor an organization that is connecting and supporting entrepreneurs and early-stage companies in Iowa.

Student Entrepreneur of the Year

The Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award will honor a student who has demonstrated innovativeness, originality, and entrepreneurial spirit in the development of processes, products, or technologies of benefit to Iowa’s startup ecosystem. Nominees must be full-time, undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in an Iowa-based college or university during the spring and/or fall semester of 2020 or a native Iowan attending school full-time outside the state in the same time period.