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Iowa AgriTech Accelerator to Drive Innovation

The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator, which was launched in 2016 by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Cultivation Corridor, will host its first class this year. Focused on ag tech startup companies, the Accelerator is designed to build upon one of the state’s key industries – agriculture – and the entrepreneurial activity that can advance technology in the industry.
“Central Iowa’s agriculture industry has a history of innovation,” says Tej Dhawan, who will serve as the interim director. “The Accelerator will advance innovation by connecting many of the leading agriculture businesses and farm groups in our region to startups working with cutting-edge technology.”

An entrepreneur himself and a leader in the Greater Des Moines startup community, Dhawan served as interim director of the Global Insurance Accelerator and serves on its board.

In addition, the Partnership and Cultivation Corridor announced that Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corporation, and Sukup Manufacturing have signed on as investing companies to The Accelerator. They join DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, John Deere, and Peoples Company. Each company has committed $100,000 to support The Accelerator for the first year.
“Grinnell Mutual has provided insurance protection for farmers and the ag industry for more than a century, and continues to look for ways to innovate and help our farm customers grow their businesses and remain an integral part of the world’s food supply,” says Larry Jansen, Grinnell Mutual’s president and CEO. “We are committed to exploring new technologies that will help our customers continue to thrive and keep pace with the industry; the AgriTech Accelerator offers a great opportunity to be part of those exciting developments.”
“Kent Corporation is proud to be part of the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator,” says Gage A. Kent, CEO & chairman at Kent Corporation. “We look forward to working with innovative companies that will actively help Iowa farmers feed the world.”

“Sukup Manufacturing is excited to work with agtech companies from around the world that will be part of The Accelerator,” says Steve Sukup, vice president and chief financial officer at Sukup Manufacturing. “The Accelerator will help the entire region as it will allow agriculture companies be more effective with access to new technology.”
Investing companies will also provide mentoring to companies in The Accelerator. Additionally, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Soybean Association, and the Iowa Pork Producers Association will provide farmer mentors to the Accelerator. Iowa State University will provide technical and business expertise.

The application process will be open from April 3 through May 12, 2017. Interested startup companies should contact Dhawan at

The first class will begin on July 10 and run through October 20. Graduation will take place at the 2017 World Food Prize in downtown Des Moines.
“We are delighted that the graduation of the first class of the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator will take place at our Hall of Laureates as part of World Food Prize week in October,” says Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of The World Food Prize. “The Accelerator is another prime example of our region working to find innovative solutions in agriculture that feed the world.”
Learn more about the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator at

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