CEDAR RAPIDS, IA—OCTOBER 24, 2013—Innovation EXPO 2013 drew a record crowd of over 600 entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, business and community leaders from across the state (and beyond) throughout the day-long event held Wednesday, October 23 at the Coralville Marriott. The third annual EXPO was comprised of multiple events that provided educational and networking opportunities for Iowa-based, high-growth-potential businesses at all stages. Innovation EXPO was co-hosted by Technology Association of Iowa (TAI), University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), Iowa Capital Investment Corporation and EDC, Inc.
This year’s EXPO was one of the headline events during the Creative Corridor’s inaugural Creative Week (October 19-26), with events taking place throughout the seven counties of the region (Benton, Cedar, Linn, Johnson, Jones, Iowa and Washington). For more information on Creative Week, visit CreativeCorridor.co. The EXPO also hosted the nearly 150 UP America Summit participants which included startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem enthusiasts from across the country.
EDC, Inc. President & CEO, Curt Nelson, acknowledged the implications that the event has for the area’s business community. “Innovation EXPO is a unique opportunity for Iowa’s fast-growing and innovative businesses to network with each other and develop partnerships that could help them scale at a faster rate. It is also a chance for established business leaders to meet these entrepreneurs and learn more about new products and technologies being developed right here in Iowa. Most importantly, the EXPO is an opportunity to celebrate these innovators and risk takers who are responsible for building the businesses that make up a healthy economic ecosystem.”
The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) hosted Pitch & Grow XV where 14 Iowa entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to panels of business experts for feedback. At the end of the day, a “pitch off” was held with early-stage company Men’s Style Lab, winning first place and then presenting to the panel in the Seed and Venture Forum.
Nine Iowa businesses presented their businesses to a panel of eight seed and venture capital experts from across the state and Midwest at Iowa Capital Investment Corporation’s Seed and Venture Forum.
A total of 62 Iowa-based entrepreneurs and inventors exhibited at the EDC Entrepreneur Showcase. The Showcase included: Inventor’s Garage, Ventures@UI and Startup Fair sections that featured entrepreneurs as various stages of the business cycle. Attendees walked through the Showcase and met with these innovators to see first-hand some of the exciting products, technologies and services being developed in Iowa.
Made by Metro High School, was presented with the People’s Choice Award at the end of the Showcase—Metro students have developed a “homemade” vacuum former to manufacture candy bar molds. Students implemented a process to design, mold, pour, wrap, market, and distribute a candy bar. Attendees selected their choice for the exhibitor with the best business opportunity and the best presentation/communication at their booth. This year’s People’s Choice Award was sponsored by Tallgrass Business Resources.
Capping off the Showcase this year was Startup Iowa Town Hall, which featured guest speakers Scott Case and Scott Heiferman. Scott Case is the co-founder and former CTO of Priceline.com and CEO of the Startup America Partnership. Scott Heiferman is the co-founder and CEO of Meetup.com and a University of Iowa graduate. Startup Iowa Town Hall was presented by the University of Iowa and co-produced by Seed Here Studio and UP Global.
Innovation EXPO 2013 was supported by the following sponsors:
Principal Sponsor: Iowa Economic Development Authority
Major Sponsors: Bankers Trust, ICAD Group, Kirkwood Training & Outreach Services and University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center
Supporting Sponsors: Bradley & Riley PC, CMA Ventures, Corridor Business Journal, FedEx and University of Iowa Research Foundation
Friends of the EXPO: Acumen, Management Recruiters of Cedar Rapids and Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa
EDC ENTREPRENEUR SHOWCASE EXHIBITORS:
Breads From Anna
The Iowa Foil Printer
Foundations in Learning
Isaac in Iowa
Made by Metro High School
FabLab/The Steam Room
Iowa Inventor’s Group
Wild Blue Fig
Grade A Speaker Co.
Higher Learning Technologies
Learning Like A Scientist
Virtual Systems Engineering, Inc.
Memcine Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Iowa Approach, Inc.
The Entrepreneurial Development Center was incorporated in 2003 as a community-sponsored, non-profit business accelerator. The company provides economic growth through the development and expansion of entrepreneurial enterprises and has successfully assisted nearly 600 Iowa-headquartered businesses. Its focus is on creating local wealth for area re-investment by growing and cultivating regional, national, and international businesses.