AMES, Iowa (January 4, 2018) – The Iowa State University Startup Factory today announced its fourth cohort of entrepreneurs to enter the Ames-based program and the launch of the Startup Factory Network and its inaugural cohort. Twelve teams will participate in ISU Startup Factory’s fourth cohort and 11 teams comprise the Startup Factory Network cohort.
The ISU Startup Factory is a 52-week intensive program housed at the Iowa State University Research Park that provides an avenue for students, faculty, and staff to create technology-based businesses. Entrepreneurs in the program receive formal training, resources, and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors, and investors in two 26-week blocks: the first a formal curriculum centered on business validation, and the second, customized to their individual business needs.
Earlier this year, the ISU Research Park announced a $200,000 grant to enable the Startup Factory to expand its program and impact elsewhere in the state. To that end, the Startup Factory partnered with Iowa Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and community colleges in northwest Iowa to pilot the Startup Factory Network to bring regional clients additional programming.
“The Startup Factory Network is a natural extension of success our cohort teams have realized to date. This partnership fits beautifully with the university’s land grant and economic development missions and we hope, will become a catalyst for growth in rural Iowa,” Dr. Kris Johansen, COO of ISU Startup Factory said. “We have had great success within the first year of the Startup Factory program and feel strongly that expanding the program is essential to building the entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem in the state. We can’t wait to get started on the pilot and continue to build on this momentum with the goal to eventually expand the Network statewide.”
SBDC State Director Lisa Shimkat agrees the partnership will raise the bar for small businesses and entrepreneurship regionally.
“This was a very competitive process and we were delighted to have so many strong applications for the Startup Factory Network’s inaugural class,” Shimkat said. “The amount of innovation occurring in rural Iowa is amazing. This program will give many entrepreneurs with great ideas the opportunity to validate, test and grow their business.”
Johansen said the Startup Factory provides a clear “front door” for accessing resources and a scalable system for developing and supporting startup companies.
Services the Startup Factory team will provide include site consulting and planning; train the trainer; and programming. The Startup Factory Network cohort will also have access to the Startup Factory’s mentor and investor network, and facilitated access to other resources available through Iowa State University.
“On January 12, we will bring the cohorts from both programs together to start their intensive program, beginning with a day and a half kickoff in Ames,” Johansen said. “There, they’ll get a chance to meet and network, then dive right in to the first module of the formal curriculum: the Business Model Academy, with introductory lessons in customer discovery and investor presentations.”
Johansen said after the kickoff event, programming will shift to the established weekly format where ISU Startup Factory cohort members receive in-person training at the Startup Factory space in the Research Park; whereas, the Startup Factory Network sessions will be delivered via videoconferencing. The program will conclude with a final onsite presentation and graduation in Ames.
About ISU Startup Factory:
The Iowa State University (ISU) Startup Factory is a 52-week intensive program housed at the ISU Research Park (ISURP). Entrepreneurs in the Startup Factory receive formal training, resources, and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors, and investors in two 26-week blocks: the first a formal curriculum centered on business validation, and the second, customized to their individual business needs. For more information on the ISU Startup Factory program, call 515-294-7444 or visit isustartupfactory.org
About America’s SBDC Iowa
America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity, 3410 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, Tel. 515-294-7612, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, America’s SBDC Iowa has 15 regional assistance centers located strategically across the state. Since program inception in 1981, the SBDC has helped Iowa businesses and entrepreneurs through no fee, confidential, customized, professional business counseling and practical, affordable training workshops.