Created in the Corridor: ISA Expansion
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
This week, the Iowa Startup Accelerator is informing its next cohort that they have been accepted into the entrepreneurial training program. But this time, things are different as the organization expands to further develop business ideas Created in the Corridor.
Just over a year ago, Matthew Rooda talked with CBS 2 News about the prospects for his new tech product designed to save piglets from being killed accidentally in farrowing operations. “Oh, I see the potential for this globally. Not right away but the in future,” insisted Rooda in October of 2015.
He went through the Iowa Startup Accelerator’s intensive three-month program to refine his ideas for SwineTech. Today, Rooda has nothing but praise for that experience. “It helped us develop strategic distribution partners, strategic manufacturing partners, helped us gain access to clientele that we didn’t have in the past, as well as strategic individuals to help us grow the company.”
Now, the Iowa Startup Accelerator is an even more rigorous, full year program of training, workshops and mentorships. Program Manager, Molly Monk, explains, “What we were finding is that while a lot of people liked this environment, we needed to do more support for our teams after the fact. We were still working with teams very intensively after the program ended so we wanted to make it a more honest commitment.”
And instead of just one opportunity to join the ISA program each year, there are now three entry points in the spring, summer and fall. The new flexibility also requires teams to be on site only one day a week. “For entrepreneurs with different life situations like those with small kids or those who have medical issues or anything, it doesn’t exactly work to be here for the typical 9 to 5,” says Monk. “We just needed to make it a bit more flexible.”
Other NewBoCo resources available to anyone—not just accelerator teams--include the DeltaV Code School for people who want to expand their tech skill set. Jessica Bertling teaches several courses designed to meet the scheduling needs of students. Explains Bertling, “There’s multiple levels and they range from a weekend day to a ten-week, Monday through Friday boot camp-style program.”
Also available for tech talent, a new prototyping lab and a virtual reality lab where the applications are limitless. Here too, you don’t have to be part of the Iowa Startup Accelerator to take advantage. “You can get a Vault (co-working) membership and then you would have access to those labs,” explains Monk. “You can contract directly with Jesse Lane, our engineer-in-residence, and he’ll help you build your prototype and help walk you through what you need to do in order to create a new product.”
Matthew Rooda still uses these resources as SwineTech continues to grow. The company has expanded from five members to nine and his potential markets are increasing, as well. “We’ve had interest from Australia, Germany, China, Brazil (and) Russia, says Rooda. He also wants others to know that the ISA is a good place to start no matter what level you’re on. “We needed an engineer, they got an engineer. We needed expertise in terms of marketing, we got that. We needed a prototyping lab, they built one. It’s whatever is going to help you become successful is what they’re going to do.”
There is also a six-week startup boot camp available now for entry level entrepreneurs. It’s all under one roof at the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo). We have a link to more information HERE.