Mike Colwell, executive director of Des Moines' BIZ business accelerator, says the nonprofit group plans to improve the probability of success for Iowa entrepreneurs.
BIZ was founded by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Des Moines Area Community College, the Iowa State University Research Park and the Ames Economic Development Commission. These organizations and the Iowa Department of Economic Development provide the majority of its funding.
"Every entrepreneur is very different," said Curt Nelson, president and chief executive officer of the Entrepreneurial Development Center, a business accelerator in Cedar Rapids. "They have similar sets of needs wrapped around very different capabilities and personalities. "That center assisted 103 entrepreneurs last year. It has helped 21 businesses grow from the idea stage in 2002 to companies with between $100,000 and $8 million in annual revenue by the end of 2006.
The economic development department estimated that 161 businesses were assisted by the expertise of those running the Iowa business accelerators in 2005. Almost 80 of those were directly involved in targeted industries: biosciences, advanced manufacturing and information solutions, and financial services.
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