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Iowa AgriTech Accelerator accepting applications for its next cohort
One thing that drew Nadilia Gomez to the role of executive director at the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator was the deep sense of appreciation and respect for the farmer.
“Experience has taught us that the most successful start-ups have integrated customers directly into the process of creating a product or service,” Gomez says. “As a part of our program, I want an entrepreneur to gain a better understanding of the critical role a farmer plays in the development of his or her idea.”
Having been a senior research scientist in Predictive Ag at Corteva Agriscience for eight years and a mentor with the Des Moines-based Iowa AgriTech Accelerator for two years, Gomez brings a unique perspective to the position.
“It’s a difficult journey. While innovators have to be committed and passionate about their product, their willingness to be coached is also important. If a product isn’t ready, they need to be able to recognize that and go back to the drawing board,” she says. “We are creating an environment that increases a start-up’s ability to become successful.”
Launched in 2016 by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Cultivation Corridor, the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator is a mentor-led program in which start-ups collaborate with agriculture industry leaders and present their solutions to refine product market fit, perform customer discovery within the industry, and build strategic partnerships.
“Each mentor brings something different to the interaction with the start-up,” Gomez says. "Many of the mentors who are part of our program are also farmers. Being a farmer as well as an expert in a particular field in ag tech means we can leverage both of those elements as these start-up ideas are being incubated and accelerated through our program.”
The cohort recently graduated its third class of start-ups and has announced it is seeking applications for its next class. The fourth cohort will be 14 weeks long and runs from June 1 to September 4, 2020. Start-ups who have a prototype ready to validate can benefit the most from the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator program. However, start-ups at all stages are encouraged to apply.
Applications will remain open until March 30, 2020. Learn more by visiting agiowa.com.