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Hundreds of Entrepreneurs Attend EXPO to Celebrate Innovation in Iowa

Innovation EXPO 2016, held Wednesday, October 26th, drew a crowd of nearly 670 entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, business and community leaders from across the state.  The day-long event was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids Convention Complex. The EXPO was comprised of multiple events that provided educational and networking opportunities for Iowa-based, high-growth-potential businesses of all stages.

Innovation EXPO 2016 kicked off with the inaugural PitchLab event where 10 Iowa entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to panels of business experts for feedback. At the end of the morning, a “pitch off” was held with startup company Via-Wise, winning first place which included a cash prize sponsored by Iowa Innovation Corporation.

Seed & Venture Forum
In the afternoon, eight Iowa entrepreneurs presented their businesses to a panel of seven seed and venture capital experts from across the state and Midwest at the Seed & Venture Forum. For the second year, the Forum used Iowa City-based Pear Deck’s platform to foster audience participation.

Entrepreneur Showcase
EDC’s Entrepreneur Showcase capped off the day with 98 Iowa-based exhibitors in the energy-filled ballroom. The Showcase included: Inventor’s Garage, Youth Innovators, Ventures@UI and Startup Fair sections that featured entrepreneurs at various stages of the business cycle. Tom Lutz, Founder of Repour, launched his new company and Kickstarter campaign right from the Showcase floor.

At the end of the Showcase, startup company Handrail UX was presented with the People’s Choice Award sponsored by BRL HR Consulting. This is the second year in a row that Handrail won the award. Handrail is a research tool that helps turn data from customer interviews, concept testing and usability assessments into meaningful information. Additionally, attendee Laura Behrens of Red Pen Communications won the Windows 10 Pro tablet donated by MobileDemand.

Thank You to Our Sponsors
Innovation EXPO thanks our generous sponsors listed below. Their support allows EDC to provide a venue for entrepreneurs to make valuable connections and scale their Iowa businesses at a faster rate.

Principal Sponsors: Iowa Economic Development Authority and Linn County
Major Sponsors: AlphaGraphics, Bankers Trust, City of Cedar Rapids, Kirkwood Training & Outreach Services and The University of Iowa JPEC
Supporting Sponsors: Bradley & Riley PC, CMA Ventures, City of Coralville, City of North Liberty, UI Ventures
Friends of the EXPO: Ag Ventures Alliance, Millhiser Smith, NextLevel Ventures, Renew Rural Iowa, RSM US LLP, Shive-Hattery

See you next year!
Mark your calendar for Innovation EXPO 2017: Tuesday, September 26, 2017.