January 24, 2023 |

IOWA CITY, IOWA – The Iowa City Area Development Group, in partnership with Heartland Forward, Builders + Backers, and GreenState Credit Union, are excited to announce that eight Iowa City entrepreneurs will enter a national idea accelerator program aimed at taking their ideas from concept to action. Additionally, with the support of the Iowa EdTech Collaborative, the program is welcoming one Cedar Rapids-based aspiring EdTech entrepreneur into the cohort.

The local cohort’s ideas include low-bridge safety goggles designed for asian facial structures, an arm-wrap for chemo-based neuropathy, a digital platform for college planning, an open AI model sharing platform, a digital platform for skincare, an app for airport layovers, and a new method of community economic development in Iowa City. The participants from Iowa City will join builders from The Delta Region, West Tennessee, Northwest Arkansas, the Eastern Shawnee Tribe, Tulsa, and Montgomery, AL in the three-month program that kicks off on January 26.

“One of the beliefs that Builders and Backers was founded on is that Ideas Are Everywhere. We’ve witnessed this first-hand in Iowa City as we enter our third cohort of the Idea Accelerator program. The entrepreneurial spirit in our community continues to grow, and we were blown away by the number of high-quality, innovative ideas that applied to this cohort. We’re excited about the 8 ideas that were accepted, and the 10 Builders working to bring those ideas to life. With the support of the Builders and Backers team, our local team at ICAD, and the Iowa City area as a whole, we are certain that these Builders can turn their ideas into successful ventures that impact our community and beyond,” said Liz Hubing, Director of Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement, Iowa City Area Development Group.

“Once again, when we all put out the call for ideas in Iowa City, dozens of people responded with a wonderful range of possible new ventures,” said Donna Harris, CEO of Builders + Backers. “Everyone deserves a chance to give their ideas a go, so we’re thrilled to be working with ICAD to make that happen for so many people here in Iowa City.”

The 9 Builders in the Iowa City area cohort include:
Jackie Yeh and David Jun
Madeleine Humpal-Pash
Madison Richard
Aravin Sivamurugan and Subin Erattakulangara
Syliva Jons
Simeon Talley
Brian Nigg

Since launching the first cohort in January of 2022, the Iowa City Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator Program has helped 23 entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.

About Iowa City Area Development Group:
The Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD)’s mission is to create, collaborate, and act boldly to help build the economic future of Johnson County, Iowa and be the best place for all people and businesses to thrive.

About Builders + Backers
Builders + Backers invests in exceptional entrepreneurs who are building global-scale ventures to power an entirely different future – one where technology creates value for many instead of capturing it for a few. Through proprietary programming, Builders + Backers also inspires and equips people to best seize the opportunities of our digital era – from experimentation and solving problems in their local communities to starting new ventures that could scale. By backing the most creative builders across the country, we can shape the digital future to be one in which more people participate and thrive.

About Heartland Forward
Heartland Forward is a nonpartisan, 501c3 organization whose mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth and improved health outcomes. Heartland Forward conducts independent, data-driven research and programs to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations.