the PULL #196

April 19, 2017
I'm excited to share that Iowa will once again be well represented on Paul Singh's North American Tech Tour. We had Paul and Dana in Des Moines for a few days last July—most likely the hottest days of the summer a/k/a the time I learned the term "heat dome"—filled with presentations, investor pitches, a slew of office hour meetings and day trips to both Cedar Rapids and Ames (here's the full recap).

This year, they're going to start their visit at EntreFEST in Iowa City (tickets still available!) and then spend the following Monday-Wednesday (May 8-10) with us in Central Iowa.

We don't have the schedule online, yet, but since we spent most of the last visit focused on entrepreneurial activity in downtown Des Moines, we're planning events in different places throughout the metro this time. They'll have their tricked out Airstream camper parked in front of the West Des Moines Business Incubator in Valley Junction as home base and we have events in the works in Urbandale and Ankeny, as well.

If you'd like to meet with Paul and Dana while they're here, click here to apply for a 1-on-1 meeting. They had 17 of these office hours appointment last time and they were such a hit that we're adding even more time in the schedule for them this year.

Full details to come!


PS. Speaking of tours, the Rise of the Rest bus tour folks set up a new website to feature all the cities they've visited in the past few years. As part of that, they asked me to write a post on Getting started in Des Moines.
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Study ranks Iowa 32nd in technology industry employment
Radio Iowa (Matt Kelley, April 19)

According to CompTIA’s 18th annual CyberStates report, Iowa now ranks 32nd in tech industry employment. The state's ranking saw a slight drop from last year, losing more than 800 jobs or almost two-percent in 2016. According to the study, more than 4,200 tech businesses currently exist in Iowa. However, Iowa ranks 14th in the nation in terms of gender diversity in the tech workforce as 77 percent of the state's tech workers are male and 23 percent female. 
Accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces modeled to boost Iowa business
The Gazette (Michaela Ramm, April 17)

As the number of small businesses in Iowa continues to grow, The Gazette shares how resources are popping up around the state to better support startups and entrepreneurs. From accelerators like the Iowa Startup Accelerator (Cedar Rapids) to incubators like the one housed in NewBo City Market (also in Cedar Rapids) and coworking spaces like Gravitate (that's us!), there are many entities designed to support entrepreneurs around the state. However, some note that these models better support technology-based companies and do not necessarily support traditional small business.
Pioneer Weekend encourages student innovation
The Scarlet & Black (Zane Silk, April 13)

Last weekend, Grinnell College hosted its third iteration of Pioneer Weekend, a business innovation competition where students vie for a top prize of $2,000 and a scholarship for the University of Iowa-sponsored Venture School program. “Students in teams of two to five work towards turning an idea that they pitch on Friday into a final presentation that they present on Sunday. So Friday they meet up, people give ideas, Saturday they get mentored by some alumni and professors, and then they work on it all day Saturday, they do some research. Then on Sunday they present it and prizes are won,” student organizer Ajuna Kyaruzi said.

The winning group, The Bail Abolition Network, came up with an idea for "a consultancy firm that would address the issue of high bail costs by helping communities create local bail funds and advocate for bail policy reform."
From the archives:

Paul Singh's Iowa Tech Tour—recaps, by the numbers and takeaways
Geoff Wood, July 26, 2016

Last week was busy.

From about 8 AM on Monday morning through 3 PM on Friday, we packed Paul Singh’s schedule full of presentations, meetups and office hours. When I first talked with Paul, just over a month ago, about potentially squeezing in an Iowa week on his North American Tech Tour he said that he wanted to come here to get to really know what it is like to be part of our startup community. He wanted to meet the people, see the companies and experience the life of an Iowa entrepreneur.

See the full Gravitate calendar
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