By: Craig Downs
Rural Ventures Accelerator (RVA) is a program of the Iowa Foundation for Microenterprise and Community Vitality (IFMCV) to provide business technical assistance to strategic rural ventures. The first year RVA pilot is conducted in collaboration with Ag Ventures Alliance (AgVA) and the Community Vitality Center (CVC) at Iowa State University. Seed funding for the RVA pilot is provided in part by a USDA Rural Business Development grant with match from AgVA and CVC-ISU.
Strategic rural ventures are startups or existing companies with innovations that have potential for adding value to the agricultural supply chain and/or rural economic diversification by generating enterprises in multiple communities or rural regions. The RVA purpose is to facilitate development of new industries and target benefits to underserved rural areas and communities (Generally those less than 5,000 population.) The draft pilot RVA program includes a focus on 8 strategic rural ventures and eight target communities/rural areas from across Iowa.
The strategic rural ventures benefit from business assistance provided by IFMCV business coaches, AgVA staff, and CVC staff, including quarterly coaching visits, technical assistance plans, project development expertise and ongoing marketing assistance as may be required for a strategic venture.
The intent is to consider additional applications from strategic rural ventures that contact the program during 2017 to continue and expand the program as may be needed.
If you are curious about the Rural Ventures Accelerator or know of potential future applicants, contact Craig Downs at IowaMicroloan.org.