Innovation Index: Microloans for low-income entrepreneurs and awards for Iowa City

Welcome to the Innovation Index: Each week, we’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.  News and Notes: The City of Iowa City has created a new program to support low- and mid-income entrepreneurs and business owners: Microloans of up to $5,000. The business must be located in Iowa City. Read more via ICAD Group, and find application materials at icgov.org/financialassistance. New awards and recognition for the Iowa City community: It climbed 10 spots to land at number 5 on the Milken Institute’s list of the best-performing small cities (h/t ICAD Group), Livibility.com ranked it as the number 10 best place to live (h/t IC Downtown District), and ZipRecruiter named it one of the best cities for jobs. That long list of honors keeps getting even longer. UI Partners will launch two new centers in Western Iowa next week, pushing forward in the UI research and economic development department’s goals of helping businesses statewide. More information at uipartners.uiowa.edu. One example of UI economic development efforts: Iowa Adaptive Technologies, a medical device company started at the university, is moving forward with a licencing agreement with the UI Research Foundation. Read more via ICAD Group. Geonetric, makers of healthcare websites and longtime champions of the freedom at work movement in Eastern Iowa, were featured in the BBC: ‘Who’s the boss? In some companies, it’s nobody.’ International love for the Corridor! Sarah Young of Zing Coaching also got some media love this week: ‘Get a life coach: The profession is gaining popularity and credibility.’ The Corridor Business Journal has an article up about venture capital…
Innovation Index: Pear Deck funded, ClusterFlunk goes national and more startup news for Dec. 13

Innovation Index: Pear Deck funded, ClusterFlunk goes national and more startup news for Dec. 13

Welcome to the Innovation Index! Each week, we’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. And as always, find the latest at wecreatehere.net/innovation-index.  News and Notes: Congrats to Pear Deck for raising a $500,000 seed round! The Iowa City-based startup created a software platform for interactive presentations that can be used on any device with a Google account. With two of the founders, Riley Eynon-Lynch and Michal Eynon-Lynch, as former teachers, Pear Deck’s first market is education - ‘ridding the world of boring lectures.’ The round was led by Digital Cowboy Ventures and also included funds from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Acceleration Fund. Read more via ICAD Group, The Des Moines Register and The Gazette. ClusterFlunk, another Iowa City startup in the education space, is now available at universities nationwide. Founded by then-University of Iowa students, ClusterFlunk provides a way for students to study together and compare notes. Earlier this year, the startup opened a Chicago office after a $1 million investment led by Lightbank Ventures. Via ClusterFlunk on Facebook. Meanwhile, the first home of ClusterFlunk and many other startups, the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory (BELL) on the University of Iowa’s campus, is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary. The incubator has supported 53 student-led businesses in that time. Read more in a nice piece via the Daily Iowan. More coworking goodness: the IC CoLab celebrated it’s second anniversary this week. The coworking brand launched by ICAD Group has expanded to Coralville and North Liberty in that time. Check out photos from the early days on Facebook. ICAD...

Five takeaways from the Midwest Creative College Town Conference

The first-ever Midwest Creative College Town Conference, hosted Saturday in Iowa City by the UI School of Urban & Regional Planning, had ambitious goals, bringing together new urbanists and entrepreneurs, planners and doers, artists and analysts. What emerged was a conversation on how economic development is changing; how people, places and programs work together to shape vibrant startup communities. “Let’s stop thinking like economic development professionals, and start thinking like urban planners,” said Geoff Fruin, assistant city manager for the City of Iowa City. “Let your public spaces and your built environment be the marketing that you need.” A series of panels included representatives from economic development, city government, education and startup communities from three cities: East Lansing, Mich., Iowa City and Lincoln, Ne. Several of the key themes will be familiar to regular readers of We Create Here, but it was interesting to see how different communities are evolving along similar paths: Focusing economic development efforts locally: “Traditional economic development has gotten lazy,” said Jeff Smith, director of new economy for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. “You cannot go out and hunt and gather, and hope your economy is going to grow… the hunter-gatherer approach is a zero sum game.” Instead, LEAP and other organizations in the Lansing area collaborate to produce events for the entrepreneurial community. Smith said he hopes to spark “small fires” that have the potential to grow. Likewise, moderator Nick Benson, program director of the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, asked if economic developers are truly “growing the pie” or simply moving the pieces around. Eric Hanson, communications manager for the Iowa City Area...
We’re teaming up with ICAD and Sculpt for great conversation – and you’re invited

We’re teaming up with ICAD and Sculpt for great conversation - and you’re invited

Do you know that feeling when you are on the brink of something huge? There’s excitement. Your eyes are wide open to the potential in front of you. But there’s also a twinge of panic. Your comfort zone is quickly shrinking away in the rear view mirror and you know it will take a unique perspective to navigate the road ahead. We want to invite you to embrace that feeling. Join us Sept. 11 - there will be beer and BBQ to sweeten the deal.  The team at We Create Here is joining forces with ICAD, the Iowa City Area Development Group, and Sculpt, Iowa City’s social media agency, to produce ICAD’s annual meeting. (Registrations now open – RSVP by Sept. 2.) We hope it will be like no annual meeting you’ve ever attended. The organizations behind this meeting, including ours, believe that our entire region is on the brink of something huge. The seven-county region around Iowa City and Cedar Rapids is growing into its identity as a Creative Corridor. Emerging technology could change the very fabric of our cities in the coming decade. The population of Iowa is changing, and several employers here have charted a goal to make this the best place to work in the world. All of this is happening very quickly - the rate of change itself is changing. Where strategic plans and vision statements used to cover decades, now organizations like ICAD need to be agile, seizing opportunities as they arise. In order to understand what’s ahead, we need to talk to each other. What’s happening, not happening and why? Let’s stop...
Innovation Index: This week in Creative Corridor startup news, August 15

Innovation Index: This week in Creative Corridor startup news, August 15

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.  News and notes: Last week, Iowa City-based Telepharm announced a $2.5 million round of funding led by Iowa investors John Pappajohn and Bruce Rastetter - and the news from CEO Roby Miller didn’t slow down this week: The company has been accepted into the portfolio of Rock Health, a Silicon Valley-based seed fund for health tech companies. The complete telepharmacy solution will now also be available as stand-alone services: TeleCouncil will allow pharmacists to remotely chat with patients in more locations, such as long-term care facilities and health clinics. TeleCheck will allow pharmacists to verify prescriptions remotely - possibly even from within the same pharmacy, which could increase efficiency. Miller said the change was driven by pharmacies asking for each of the options independently. “It’s been crazy - it’s been a lot of work and a lot of reward,” Miller told us. “Building the team has been the best part - the people are what makes TelePharm work.” Read more via TelePharm.   Geonetric announced that four area nonprofits were selected for it’s third annual Operation Overnight charity hackathon: Area Substance Abuse Council, Children’s Theatre of Cedar Rapids/Playtime Poppy, Corridor Running and Feed Iowa First will receive new websites during the 24–hour event. Read more via Geonetric. Dream of starting a business in New Bohemia or the Czech Village? A new revolving loan fund, managed by ECICOG, will offer up to $25,000 for new or expanding...