Mega list of our innovation community stakeholders

As I wrote last week, our two most recent ‘What’s next?’ conversations have focused on generating a list of stakeholders. While we commonly think of entrepreneurs themselves, investors, mentors and users as the main players in a startup community, it seems that the list of groups that support entrepreneurs or are influenced by their creations could be much longer.

Startup community conversation on Feb. 11, 2015 at the Iowa Startup Accelerator in Cedar Rapids.

Startup community conversation on Feb. 11, 2015 at the Iowa Startup Accelerator in Cedar Rapids.

Recently, it feels like there has been more conversation and effort around engaging these different groups. David Tominsky pitched the Iowa Startup Accelerator to the Cedar Rapids Downtown Rotary, which is filled with many existing industry leaders, and has been visiting schools to spread the efforts of CoderDojo. Big companies including TaxACT and Rockwell Collins have backed the upcoming Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids (disclosure: yours truly is an organizer). And as organizers of EntreFEST, Amanda West and Andy Stoll have spent the last three years painting a very inclusive picture, bringing together small business owners, high-tech startup folks, corporate innovators, economic developers and community activists.

I’m reminded of Eric Engelmann‘s words at the Iowa Startup Accelerator launch day: “It’s not just startups over in the corner, it’s everyone getting together to do it.”

Without further ado, here is the list that was generated over the course of two conversations, in no particular order. What ideas does this list inspire? How can we engage more of these groups? Tweet @wecreatehere with ideas. 


  1. Entrepreneurs / founders
  2. Risk takers / Innovators
  3. Freelancers
  4. “Basement dwellers”/ self-employed
  5. Remote workers
  6. Programmers / software developers / tech talent
  7. College students
  8. Recent graduates / young employees
  9. Alumni / alumni networks
  10. Job seekers
  11. Talent / employees
  12. Friends
  13. Families
  14. Spouses
  15. Parents / parent groups
  16. Women in the workforce
  17. Minorities/diverse populations
  18. Immigrants
  19. Individuals mentioned by name: Nate Kaeding / David Gould / David Tominsky / Andy Stoll / Amanda West / Mark Nolte
  20. Retail business
  21. Small biz owners
  22. Legacy biz / large companies
  23. Employers (HR point of view)
  24. Big companies that can be sponsors of community initiatives – MidwestOne, West Music, UI Credit Union, Shuttleworth, and Rockwell were mentioned
  25. Professional associations – industry and trade
  26. Existing industry
  27. Tech companies mentioned by name: Geonetric, HLT,, Rockwell, Banno / Jack Henry
  28. Seed Here Studio
  29. Investors
  30. Angel investors / angel groups
  31. Venture capital
  32. Banks
  33. ICAD
  34. EDC
  35. IEDA
  36. Kirkwood SBDC
  37. VentureNet Iowa
  38. Iowa’s Creative Corridor brand
  39. The Technology Association of Iowa
  40. SCORE
  41. Ascent
  42. Okoboji entrepreneurial institute
  43. Startup Weekend (CR / IC / DSM / CF / Spencer / Ames)
  44. Meetups / meetup organizers
  45. EntreFEST
  46. Mission Creek
  47. CBJ entrepreneurial forum
  48. Fouronefive
  49. Real Estate developers
  50. Commercial realtors
  51. Property owners
  52. Business/Improvement districts – Iowa City Downtown District, Czech Village / New Bohemia Main Street, Uptown Marion, etc.
  53. Iowa Startup Accelerator
  54. Coworking – Vault, CoLab IC/Cvl/NL
  55. Marketers – especially Sculpt
  56. Internet Service Providers
  57. Insurance providers
  58. Other service providers (accountants, consultants, agencies)
  59. Media – CBJ/Gazette/We Create Here
  60. State/federal government
  61. Governor and Lt. Governor
  62. Local government / municipalities
  63. Regional foundations – Kauffman, Knight, Kern
  64. Broader CR and IC community / the public
  65. Trees (I believe in reference to the many post-its used in our brainstorm)
  66. The environment
  67. Arts community
  68. Nonprofits
  69. Consumers
  70. Community organizations – blue zones, diversity focus
  71. Church groups
  72. School-age children
  73. School systems / education – includes teachers, administrators, students
  74. Workshops and non-traditional education options
  75. Regents universities – UI, UNI, ISU
  76. Researchers
  77. Kirkwood
  78. Private colleges – Mt. Mercy, Cornell, etc. Coe and Jay Chen were mentioned specifically
  79. Dev/Iowa
  80. Student-run companies
  81. JPEC
  82. Jacobsen Entrepreneurial Institute
  83. R. J. McElroy Foundation