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$210 million in grants awarded to improve broadband access in Iowa
Today, Governor Reynolds and the Office of the Chief Information Officer announced the latest recipients of the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grants Program.     Funding of more than $210 million for new broadband infrastructure has been awarded to 160 applicants as part of the latest investment in expanding broadband across the state, announced in October 2021.   "We’ve received an overwhelming number of applications and funding requests, which highlights the considerable need…
Iowa allocates $15 million to broadband providers throughout the state
The state of Iowa has awarded 14 broadband providers with $15,542,302 in Empower Rural Iowa broadband grants made possible through allocation of federal CARES funding. The grants will impact 21 Iowa counties and more than 2,800 homes, schools and businesses.   “The COVID-19 pandemic only underscored the need for fast, reliable, and accessible broadband,” said Gov.…
FCC awards over $143 Million to Iowa Broadband Providers
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced that it has awarded more than $143 million to 11 broadband providers to bring broadband to rural Iowa. The funding is part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, a $20.4 billion federal initiative to bring broadband service to rural areas with nonexistent or insufficient internet access Nearly all rural locations eligible…
South Slope receives $5.4 million award to expand rural broadband
South Slope Cooperative Communications, a telecommunications company based in North Liberty, has won a $5.4 million dollar award from the the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand broadband service in rural areas. South Slope was awarded support through the ReConnect Program from the U.S Department of Agriculture. This program offers unique federal financing and funding…
Expanding Broadband Access Across Iowa
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the massive shift of daily life to an almost constant online presence, has highlighted just how crucial broadband access is and just how much work remains in Iowa to provide adequate access.  Those without access to high-speed internet are unable to work from home, have their children attend virtual classrooms, have…
rural broadband Archives | 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 mpatane@clayandmilk.com.
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