Innovation Index: This week in Creative Corridor startup news

We Create Here was an initiative within the Gazette Company to develop evolving narratives and authentic conversations throughout Iowa's Creative Corridor. read more

[wc_box color="inverse" text_align="left"]Welcome to the Innovation Index! Each week, I’ll round up links and stories from around the web relating to startups, innovation and entrepreneurship in Iowa’s Creative Corridor and around the state. You can help! Email me news and notes. [/wc_box]


It wasn’t that long ago that the California region now referred to as Silicon Valley, was simply a bunch of cherry orchards.  And, there is no reason, in the coming years, the Midwest can’t turn its corn fields, into another burgeoning epicenter for technology innovation.

-- George Deeb, Managing Partner at Chicago-based Red Rocket Ventures, in Forbes: "Comparing Startup Ecosystems: The Midwest vs. Silicon Valley"

Cool project alert:

A group in Des Moines wants to chart the history of business, commerce and entrepreneurship in Iowa. Fill out a quick form here, see what's already been submitted here, or read more on the Welch Avenue Blog.

News and notes:

  • Dream of being a reality star? Representatives from Fox's new reality show, UTOPIA, will be at the Cedar Rapids Science Center's Mini Maker Faire April 19 looking for participants. The show is looking for "candidates who are passionate, great at what they do, and also have the ideas and problem-solving skills needed for starting up a new society," according to its website.
  • Ben Anderson tells me Bandwidth Pool version 2.0 has officially launched. Congrats Ben! The startup is also looking to hire account managers.

  • Also in hiring news, the Iowa Startup Accelerator is looking for a program manager.

  • Several local startups were announced as Iowa Demonstration Fund winners late last week, including BioPrint ($100,000 loan, Coralville), Iowa Approach ($75,000 loan, Iowa City), MCG BioComposites ($49,000 grant, Cedar Rapids) and Pure Oleochemicals ($79,000 grant and $29,000 loan, Riverside). (Check out our previous coverage of the State of Iowa's entrepreneurial support programs here.)

  • David Tominsky is setting up a Google Developer Group for Cedar Rapids. These groups give developers more access to Google's API's as well as Android, Chrome, etc. is my understanding.
  • Michal Eynon-Lynch of Pear Deck was featured in the Iowa Tech Chicks' newsletter; she'll be speaking this weekend at the Mission Creek Tech+Innovation conference.
  • Nice coverage of the Corridor Women's Entrepreneur Showcase in the Daily Iowan.
  • Facebook posted a few photos of its under-construction Altoona data center.
  • Details were announced for John Pappajohn's ninth annual business plan competition, which will include $50,000 in prizes. Information on
  • The summer internship season is approaching. If you need summer technology interns in your business, check out programs from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (deadline: April 30) and JPEC, which may be able to provide financial assistance.

Mark your calendar:


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  • April 9: Two events from the Technology Association of Iowa. i2iowa, a forum for investors and innovators, Information on; and The Prometheus Awards, information on
  • April 10: How to get the most out of networking, webinar with Andy Stoll. Information on
  • April 16: Special edition of the Creative Corridor WordPress Meetup with a call from Konstantin Obenland, the developer behind the 2014 WordPress theme. Information on or join digitally via Google Hangout.
  • April 17: Internship how-to breakfast. Information on
  • April 19: Cedar Rapids Mini Maker Faire and soft launch of the Science Center’s new maker space. Information on
  • April 24: Community healthcare forum for employers to learn about the Affordable Care Act. Information on
  • April 28: "Can We Have Better Health at Affordable Cost?" Lecture by Alice Rivlin. Information on
  • April 29: Creative Corridor welcome reception. Help welcome new faces to our community. Information on

  • May 1: Henry B. Tippie will speak on the impact of philanthropy. Information on
  • May 2-4: 3 Day Startup, a Startup Weekend-style event for UI students. An information session will be held April 14. Information on
  • May 9: Success^SHE, a women’s conference produced by a member of the Cedar Rapids BIG School. Information on
  • May 14-15: EntreFest! 2014. Information on
  • May 22: Spring into Business Ownership, webinar focused on women-owned businesses with Lydia Brown of Ascent. Information on

Find many more events on 



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