Innovation EXPO 2011 Highlights Importance of Entrepreneurs to Iowa Economy
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA—OCTOBER 27, 2011—Innovation EXPO 2011 drew a crowd of nearly 450 entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, business and community leaders throughout the day-long event held Wednesday, October 26 at the Coralville Marriott. Innovation EXPO 2011 was comprised of multiple events that provided educational and networking opportunities for Iowa-based, high-growth-potential businesses at all stages.
A notable caliber of attendees was impressed with the event and the potential impact it could have on Iowa’s innovation. Adam Claypool, Managing Director of DeWaay Investment Banking, stated, “The EXPO was one of the best entrepreneurial events that I have attended. It was a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect with each other as well as potential partners and investors. I was impressed by the energy throughout the entire day. This event is an important step forward in fostering the entrepreneurial climate that is so vital to Iowa’s future.”
EDC President & CEO, Curt Nelson, acknowledged the implications that the event has for the area’s business community. “This year’s EXPO was more than an event – it was a unique opportunity for our local, fast-growing and innovative businesses to network with each other and develop partnerships that could help them scale at a faster rate. And more importantly, the EXPO was an opportunity to celebrate these innovators and risk takers who are responsible for building the businesses that make up a healthy economic ecosystem.”
The day began with a Startup Stories breakfast presented by Seed Here, a group focused on building a stronger community of entrepreneurs and creatives in Iowa City/Cedar Rapids and across the Silicon Prairie. At the breakfast, Jeff Slobotski, Founder of Silicon Prairie News, gave a presentation titled, “The State of the Silicon Prairie.”
The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) hosted Pitch & Grow VI where 16 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 startup company RecBob, winning first place.
Nine later stage Iowa businesses pitched their more mature businesses to a panel of 11 seed and venture capitalists from across the state and Midwest at Iowa Capital Investment Corporation’s Seed and Venture Forum.
My Alibi Clothing, Des Moines, was presented with the 2nd Annual People’s Choice Award at the end of the Entrepreneur Showcase. Attendees selected their choice for the exhibitor with the best business opportunity and the best presentation/communication at their booth.
“It was an honor to win the EDC Entrepreneur Showcase People’s Choice Award. There were, no doubt, several other inspiring companies exhibiting. While I firmly believe in our very scalable business model, I think that attendees embraced My Alibi’s style and mission,” said founder and CEO of My Alibi Clothing, Abbie Durkee.
A total of 45 Iowa-based entrepreneurs and inventors exhibited at the EDC Entrepreneur Showcase and Inventor’s Garage. 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. Exhibitors found the opportunity to be beneficial to the advancement of their businesses. “I was really impressed by the positive energy going on inside the Entrepreneur Showcase. I made several connections and leads that could have potential impact on my business,” Marc Meyer, President & CEO of Inteconnex, a Cedar Rapids-based company that leverages the latest advancements in information technology for physical and logical security.
EDC ENTREPRENEUR SHOWCASE
Cedar Ridge Vineyards
Luerkens Labs Inc.
Direct Drive Energy
My Alibi Clothing
Cellular Engineering Technology
ASAP Technology Works
North American Protein
Power Block (Inventor: Joey Svejda)
Slick Shield (Inventor: Darin Luneckas)
Vent-D (Inventor: Frank Morosky)
STOVESHOES (Inventors: Pam and Allen McGrew)
Car Care for iOS and BrowZine (Inventor: Karl Becker)
Crane Creek Kayaks (Inventor: Brian Mauer)
Lighthouse R&D, LLC (Inventor: Creig Dunlap)
Carbidet (Inventor: John Bakas)
Suresoft (Inventor: Bob Varner)
Barkblaster (Inventor: Leon Goerdt)
Componica (Inventor: Steve Mitchell)
R&D Fixtures, Jigs and Gadgets LLC (Inventors: David Huovinen and Ron Bentley)
Innovation EXPO 2011 was sponsored by Iowa Economic Development Authority (Platinum Sponsor). Sponsors of the EDC Entrepreneur Showcase and Inventor’s Garage were Bankers Trust (Gold Sponsor), Bradley & Riley (Silver Sponsor), CMA Ventures (Silver Sponsor) and MRI of Cedar Rapids (Silver Sponsor).
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 over 400 Iowa-headquartered businesses. Its focus is on creating local wealth for area re-investment by growing and cultivating regional, national, and international businesses.