Acknowledging the unusual situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator Operating Company board of directors extended the deadline for applications to its annual AgTech Startup program to May 1. It was from March 31.
“We are constantly exploring new ways of providing a quality program every year,” says IATA executive director Nadilia Gomez. “We want the best for our startups, and during difficult times like these, there’s even more reason to be flexible, focus on quality and find creative ways to foster the innovation needed to keep central Iowa in its role as one of the nation’s top regions for ag tech development.”
Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and led by innovators and leaders across the ag industry, IATA seeks startups ready to change the status quo. “We believe ag tech innovation can come from anywhere. And, although a proportion of our startups are international, given travel restrictions this year, we are particularly encouraging Iowa-based entrepreneurs to apply,” Gomez says.
Encouraging innovation in ag
Launched in 2016 by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Cultivation Corridor, IATA has helped fund startups from all over the country and internationally, not just Iowa. The goal is to find the next big ag tech platform and develop it in Iowa. Lots of Iowa ag manufacturing and other businesses and industry backers support this effort.
The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator is a mentor-led accelerator focused on ag-tech innovation. Led by innovators and leaders in several areas of agriculture, IATA seeks startups ready to change the status quo. Technology startups, entrepreneurs and inventors interested in applying for the IATA program can learn more by visiting agiowa.com. Applications from Iowa are encouraged but the program is also open to all qualifying applicants regardless of geography.
Interviews for the 2020 cohort will be held remotely. COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation, and IATA will continue to monitor it closely and update the website as further information becomes available.
Welcome new board member
The IATA board recently welcomed a new member, Grant Kimberley, to his first term as external board member. A recognized ag industry leader in Iowa, Kimberley says he is excited about the potential the IATA program presents for the future of Iowa.
“The great group of high-quality companies and individuals that are involved with this board, along with the potentially great entrepreneurs that will apply for support would be hard to replicate anywhere else,” Kimberley says. “As I have been around agriculture all my life and have a passion for maintaining Iowa’s leadership in this field, I find the mission of the accelerator to be very interesting.”
Kimberley serves as senior director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association and as executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. A sixth-generation family farmer, Kimberley began farming with his father near Maxwell in central Iowa while still in college in 1995 and continues to actively farm in addition to his duties at the ISA and IBB. He and his wife, Natalie, have two children.
“Grant brings a depth of industry knowledge to the IATA Operating Company board that will be invaluable to the organization and our future cohorts of ag tech businesses,” says Rachel Geilenfeld, external relations manager at Sukup Manufacturing Co. and IATA Operating Company board chair. “Adding another active farmer to our board validates IATA’s direct connection to agriculture.”