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Tennis Line Call App wins first place at YEC Pitch Competition
Young people from all around the state gathered at ISU's new Student Innovation Center on Saturday for the fifth annual Young Entrepreneur Convention. The all-day event included presentations and talks from successful entrepreneurs and founders from around the state. The convention also featured a pitch competition, in which participants were given 90 seconds to pitch…
Young Entrepreneur Convention set for October 30 in Ames
The fifth annual Young Entrepreneur Convention is set to take place this Saturday, October 30 in the new Student Innovation Center on the Iowa State campus. The event is focused on providing information, motivation, and practical tools to assist early-stage founders. In addition to a series of keynote speakers and panel discussions, the event offers…
Middle Bit: Growers Edge launches ag lending platform
Growers Edge, a provider of data-driven fintech solutions for the agricultural industry, has announced the launch of a fully digital financial software and services platform for the agriculture industry. The customizable platform is built for ag retailers and input manufacturers of any size to process and manage loans quickly and efficiently. Powered by Growers Edge…
Mooney: Founders need to think bigger
Guest post by Clayton Mooney. I returned with ZERO promising leads, my first 3 trips to Silicon Valley. Meetings led to “you’re too early for us,” “it’s not a right fit, but please add us to your updates,” and “I challenge you to think bigger.” One of these pieces of feedback is not like the…
Zach Kowalik wins Pitch Competition at YEC19
30 startups pitched during the Young Entrepreneur Convention 2019 (YEC19) last Thursday in hopes of taking home the top prize. Here were the six finalists that made it to the final of the pitch competition: Cherie Edilson pitched an online marketplace that specifically targets small businesses in local communities and makes them more competitive. Dillon…
Registration now open for YEC’s Elevator Pitch Competition
Registration is now open for the Elevator Pitch Competition at the fourth annual Young Entrepreneur Convention. This year's pitch competition will offer up to $50,000 in prizes. The competition will run throughout the day on April 27, with the final round being held on the main stage at 4:15 p.m. Registration for the competition is…
Young Entrepreneur Convention 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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