Business

Cedar Rapids ranked highly for tech start-ups

NewBoCo cited as 'huge asset'

Eric Engelmann, executive director, speaks during NewBoCo's Iowa Startup Accelerator Launch Day at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Eric Engelmann, executive director, speaks during NewBoCo's Iowa Startup Accelerator Launch Day at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Cedar Rapids has been ranked 15th among 42 cities profiled in a report on start-up communities in 11 Midwestern states by Silicon Prairie News of Omaha.

Its State of the Prairie Report highlighted the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative, or NewBoCo, home of the Iowa Startup Accelerator program, as a “huge asset” to the community.

Cedar Rapids’ top start-ups in the ranking, Cargofy, a tech company that works to support the trucking industry, and SwineTech, which develops artificial intelligence for agribusiness, were Iowa Startup Accelerator companies.

”Cedar Rapids’ growth over the last decade has been noteworthy,” Silicon Prairie News commented in its report.

“Cedar Rapids must continue to discover ways to transfer technologies and build out its ag-tech infrastructure.”

Eric Engelmann, executive director of NewBoCo, said the organization appreciates the recognition.

”Our intention is to do as Silicon Prairie News recommends — to double down on our organization’s mission and amplify our impact on Eastern Iowa,” Engelmann said in a news release.

“Helping our community thrive demands significant, systemic investments in education, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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Engelmann said companies in the Corridor need to learn how to become more innovative and resilient to adapt to a shifting economy.

On the down side, the Silicon Prairie News report said the region lacks a pool of venture-backed companies.

“We need to invest in and support our entrepreneurial community to help our start-ups become the high growth companies that will change our region,” Engelmann responded.

He added that the state needs to have world-class technical education, starting as young as possible.

NewBoCo has taken an active role in offering classes for K-12 students to develop their coding, engineering and entrepreneurship skills.

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