Resource Partner Spotlight – Entrepreneurial Development Center

Resource Partner Spotlight – Entrepreneurial Development Center

In choosing the spotlight this month, we wanted a resource partner that would tie in to the conference and trade show theme of this month’s IASourceLink so at the top of the list is the organization behind the Innovation EXPO –  the Entrepreneurial Development Center, a non-profit business accelerator in Cedar Rapids, IA.


Strong Background with Entrepreneurs

Since 2003, EDC has worked with more than 800 entrepreneurs and has developed a proven process by which businesses and entrepreneurs are supported and accelerated. They do this be engaging in a hand-on manner, rolling up their sleeves to augment the entrepreneurs’ lean teams and provide strategic planning, business planning, market research, marketing, sales, operations and accounting expertise.

To date, EDC’s clients have created the following impact in Iowa:

  • Generated over $1B in new revenue
  • Raised nearly $300M in capital
  • Created over 1,700 new jobs
  • Generated nearly $360M in wages
  • Resulting in nearly $2B of economic impact

EDC provides assistance to scalable, interstate commerce Iowa-based companies of all stages (from pre-revenue startup phase to mature businesses) as well as entrepreneurial clients in information technology, advanced manufacturing, ag/bioscience, software-as-a-service, and basic product manufacturing industries, including consumer goods product companies.


Creating Iowa’s Biggest Showcase Event for Entrepreneurs

The EDC does a great job with the very popular Innovation EXPO attracting over 700 attendees for the one-day event last year.

Created to foster the growth of innovation and entrepreneurial enterprise in Iowa, the EXPO is organized by EDC and co-hosted with UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) and Iowa Venture Capital Association (IVCA). The events are designed for entrepreneurs, inventors, students, financial resources and business leaders in Iowa to connect, help our region grow more new business, create jobs, keep our region vibrant and globally competitive – and to celebrate entrepreneurs.

The continued success of this event relies on Iowa’s business community and its willingness to support the entrepreneurs that are driving tomorrow’s innovation by attending, learning and engaging where applicable. You can participate in the EXPO by applying to pitch, exhibiting or attending. Please take the opportunity to learn more about all the events Innovation EXPO has to offer, by visiting


EDC Client Highlight

The EDC has an impressive client list and when asked to share a success story they immediately jumped at the chance to showcase Involta.

With an incredible back story that involves securing $50 million of equity in 2014, Involta has seen significant growth over the past couple years.

From the very beginning, entrepreneurs supporting each other allowed Bruce Lehrman of Involta the collaboration needed to clarify and fulfill his vision. From ongoing meetings with Curt Nelson and the team at the EDC to the support of other successful entrepreneurs like Ruffalo and Gray, the business had the benefit of launching and growing in a community that had deep resources to fuel its success.

“”The EDC has been a valuable resource to my team and I as we were mapping out our expansion strategy and building our sales. We have also relied on the EDC time and again for help navigating the various funding options in the state and beyond.” Lehrman added, “”The EDC is a critical part of growing the local economy and entrepreneurial ecosystem. They have real-world business experience to provide guidance and resources to help entrepreneurs succeed.””

A full case study about Involta’s success with EDC can be read on the EDC website.


Every Situation is Unique

One of the things the EDC has learned over the last 13 years is that to truly help an entrepreneur, whether at the start-up stage or growth stage, each entrepreneur and related situation need to be handled uniquely. Every situation is a person, business, and economy in time and effective support must be tailored accordingly to have the maximum effectiveness.

EDC has built a strong process around this core philosophy and the resulting impact on the businesses supported has been excellent. “The EDC helped me in a number of ways. The most important was helping me get funding for my business at a critical time. The other area of help was the expertise they provided in the areas of marketing and strategic planning. The staff is incredible and dedicated to shoe businesses they work with. Experts in their fields and generous with their help. They are like having a business ‘family’ to rely on when you really need guidance in a particular area. The EDC has been an invaluable partner for me as I have navigated through my business challenges. Always insightful and direct, they quickly identify problems and help to find solutions. I rely heavily on their support and guidance,” says Mary Beth Guillaume, Lionne Designs.

The IASourceLink has over 350 public organizations in Iowa that provide services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Resource Navigator allows you to narrow your search in order to find the organizations that can directly meet your needs.

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