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Innovation Grants for Iowa Startups

Iowa Economic Development Authority


A public-private partnership is supporting business innovation in Iowa. This month, the Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded money to six startups, including one in Maquoketa. 

Every year, the state hands out up to $150,000 in loans to several small and medium-size businesses. Spokeswoman, Tina Hoffman, says it's part of a statewide effort to create a "culture of innovation."

"We have great research universities here. We have lots of folks who, now, because of technology can create their business anywhere, so we'd love to have them create that business here where we have a low cost of doing business. We have a support system or an ecosystem that can help with the development of this."

      The awards support market research, concept-development, and prototypes.  One of latest grant recipients is a company called Blue-9 in Maquoketa. It received a $100,000 loan to promote its professional dog trainer program.  Hoffman says all startups--whether they receive awards or not--can get exposure and support from a large network of entrepreneurs in Iowa.

"For startups, it's a longer term journey than just one application for one financial assistance award, and we understand that and we're trying to be helpful to keep them growing for the long term."

Another start-up company received money from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to sell a "revolutionary" catfish pole; and another will sell a device for hospital patients who have trouble communicating.

Renata Sago is WMFE's general assignment reporter and occasional Morning Edition anchor. She covers everything from major political campaigns and unemployment to civil rights legislation and the performing arts for WMFE and NPR.