Source: BioConnect Iowa

$1.2 million in federal and local funding will be used to nurture biotech and bioscience start-ups

The Iowa Innovation Corporation—the state’s public-private partnership for economic development—is now BioConnect Iowa, a name change that better reflects the organization’s focus on expanding the state’s bioscience sector.

“Innovation in the biosciences offers a great opportunity for Iowa,” said Paul Schickler, chair of BioConnect Iowa’s Board of Directors. “Advances in this area will help Iowa farmers improve operations and will provide high-paying jobs for Iowa residents, including our youth. BioConnect Iowa will play an important role in reaching these goals.”

The name change coincides with the award of a three-year grant by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to BioConnect Iowa and its partners: Iowa State University Startup Factory and VentureNet Iowa. This grant will be used to develop the Iowa Go-to-Market (G2M) Program, which will feature a start-up accelerator. G2M Program funding breakdown: $500K from the U.S. Economic Development Administration + $700K in pro bono services, in-kind partner contributions, and State support = $1.2 million in investment over three years.

The accelerator will provide ongoing support to bioscience start-ups that have already participated in an accelerator or other structured entrepreneurship development program. It will be run by ISU’s Startup Factory, and the application process will be managed by VentureNet Iowa, an organization that supports entrepreneurial activities in the state. The accelerator will provide entrepreneurs with training in sales, marketing, corporate development, and finance, as well as pro bono legal, marketing, and HR services from more than a dozen participating firms.

“Iowa’s reputation and success as a bioscience epicenter is characterized by a continuous focus on innovation and collaboration,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority.

“The transformation of the Iowa Innovation Corporation to BioConnect Iowa is another element of this narrative advancing the state’s thriving biosciences industry.”

BioConnect Iowa will continue to manage the state’s Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Outreach Program, which connects entrepreneurs to federal grants. For more information about the G2M Program and BioConnect Iowa, please visit