Iowa’s Public Innovation Funding Programs

Iowa’s Public Innovation Funding Programs

So, you’re an Iowa based innovative technology company (in the areas of IT, advanced manufacturing or bio/life science) with proof of concept and a minimum viable product on the road to commercialization. What’s next? Well, if you’re looking to delve into fund raising, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has a handful of funding programs for entrepreneurs and small businesses who are looking to grow their business in Iowa.

The Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) program is designed to help those entrepreneurs that have proof of concept and a minimum viable product but are still working to refine their product and identify what the market and customer need. POCR awards of up to $25,000 with a 2:1 public/private match are in the form of a grant and the funds may be used primarily for obtaining mentoring assistance, market validation and team assembly.

The Demonstration Fund, the most well-known of the State’s public innovation funds, is geared toward companies initializing commercialization, beta testing their product and refining their business model. Awards up to $100,000 are made in the form of a loan or royalty with a 2:1 public/private match and the funds may be used for marketing and sales, product development and market research.

The Innovation Acceleration Fund was established in 2012 to accelerate the pace of market development and help Iowa companies attract follow-on private capital. Innovation Acceleration awards between $100,000 and $300,000 are structured as a loan or royalty agreement and require a 1:1 public/private match. The funds may be used for adding to the management team, expanding marketing and sales and IP development/evaluation.

VentureNet Iowa has been contracted by the IEDA to manage the application process for these programs. The application process consists of:

  1. A conversation with VentureNet to determine which program to apply for.
  2. Application submission. Application deadlines are bi-monthly.
  3. An in-depth panel review meeting at the VentureNet office before an industry specific focus group. Every applicant is evaluated with a standard set of evaluation criteria developed by VentureNet.
  4. Presentation to the Technology Commercialization Committee (TCC). The TCC makes a funding recommendation for each applicant that is put before the IEDA Board for approval.

The whole process from application submission to award approval takes six to eight weeks and VentureNet is here to assist you every step of the way. From determining which program best fits your company to refining your pitch to the TCC, VentureNet is your go to. Take a look at for more program information or contact me at [email protected] with questions.

Adrienne Greenwald, Director, Communications & Public Relations, VentureNet Iowa

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