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Innovation EXPO Coming To Cedar Rapids October 21

October 7, 2014 | Cedar Rapids, Iowa – In two weeks, hundreds of Iowans will get EXPOsed to some of the state’s fast-growing, Iowa-based companies and innovators at Innovation EXPO 2014, to be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids Convention Complex on Tuesday, October 21. This is the first time that the state-wide event will be held in Cedar Rapids (it had most recently been held in Coralville).

Representing a partnership between the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI), the Iowa Fund of Funds (IFOF), the Entrepreneurial Development Center, Inc. (EDC), and the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), Innovation EXPO 2014 is comprised of three state-wide events to enable fruitful connections between resources and entrepreneurs. Last year’s EXPO drew a crowd of more than 600 entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, community and business leaders. With over 80 entrepreneurs scheduled to present and exhibit, Innovation EXPO 2014 is expected to be the largest event yet.

“Innovation EXPO has become one of Simply Soothing’s favorite events of the year,” said Freda Sojka, Founder and CEO of Simply Soothing. “It is truly an example of Iowa ingenuity meets Iowa helpfulness. In one place, you can meet budding entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs and the experts to help those innovators scale their businesses. We always leave the event feeling one part exhausted and one part rejuvenated but overall, proud to be growing our business in Iowa.”

“We are excited to bring the EXPO to Cedar Rapids this year,” said Curt Nelson, EDC President and CEO. “The EXPO has gained momentum and has become Iowa’s largest entrepreneurial showcase event. This year’s EXPO promises to be the largest yet and will be a true showcase of the innovation that is occurring in Iowa. Attendees will have an unprecedented opportunity to experience the synergies created by bringing together some of the state’s leading entrepreneurs with resources, business, community and state leaders in one venue. If you have an interest or stake in Iowa’s economic future, this event is not to be missed. We are fortunate to have one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems in the country—the EXPO is an opportunity to put that on display.”

Innovation EXPO 2014 will kick off at 8:30 am with TAI’s Pitch and Grow, during which 16 Iowa entrepreneurs at virtually any stage of the business life cycle practice their pitches before a supportive “think tank” of industry experts. The momentum will build with the afternoon Seed and Venture Forum, where seven pre-screened companies will pitch their more-developed business ideas to a panel of seed and venture-stage company experts.

The EXPO will culminate with a celebration of Iowa’s entrepreneurial risk-takers. EDC’s evening Entrepreneur Showcase, Inventor’s Garage and Ventures@UI pavilion will feature more than 80 entrepreneurs and inventors (including the Iowa Startup Accelerator teams) in a convention-like setting.

After the Showcase, entrepreneurs, resources and business community leaders are invited to participate in a conversation on the state of startups with We Create Here (www.wecreatehere.net).

To register for or learn more about Innovation EXPO 2014, visit http://innovationexpo2014.eventbrite.com.

Innovation EXPO 2014 is sponsored by the following:
Principal Sponsor: Iowa Economic Development Authority
Major Sponsors: Bankers Trust, Iowa City Area Development Group, Kirkwood Training & Outreach Services,
Supporting Sponsors: Bradley & Riley PC, City of Cedar Rapids, Corridor Business Journal, CMA Ventures, FedEX and UIRF
Friends of the EXPO: Acumen, Management Recruiters of Cedar Rapids, Next Level Partners and Renew Rural Iowa

About the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) www.technologyiowa.org
TAI is a member-based, not-for-profit organization accelerating the success of Iowa’s technology industry. TAI works to create and sustain a positive environment for technology-based economic growth and job creation through innovation, advocacy, and leadership. TAI members include organizations of every size − involved in virtually every aspect of technology creation, production, application and education in Iowa.

About the Iowa Fund of Funds (IFOF) www.investiowa.com
Overseen by the Iowa Capital Investment Corporation (ICIC), the Iowa Fund of Funds (IFOF) is, when actively investing, a powerful tool to attract out-of-state venture capital funds to spend time in Iowa looking for investments in growing companies and working with local entrepreneurs. IFOF connects Iowa to the national venture capital community and helps to overcome our “fly over” status by allowing Iowa to become an investor (“limited partner”) in select venture funds and requiring, in exchange, that they become an active part of the Iowa entrepreneurial community.

About the Entrepreneurial Development Center, Inc. (EDC) www.edcinc.org
EDC 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 more than 600 Iowa-headquartered businesses. Its focus is on creating local wealth for area re-investment by growing and cultivating regional, national, and international businesses.

About University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) www.iowajpec.org
JPEC is a unique, cross-campus collaboration among the Colleges of Business, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Medicine. The academic program combines coursework with experiential learning, and is open to all UI students through a certificate program and a major. JPEC provides advanced entrepreneurial education, technology commercialization, and business consulting services to start-up and high-growth companies across the state and region; as well as innovative training for high school teachers and youth.