Calling all brainstormers. Thriving business incubators are helping foster a growing entrepreneurial culture that has earned the area recognition as part of the “Silicon Prairie," a cluster of successful tech cities across the Midwest and Great Plains states.
Ames is a recognized leader because it houses Iowa State University (ISU) and its Research Park, where many startups are developing new companies in growth sectors such as agriculture, insurance, manufacturing and technology.
One of ISU’s incubator resources is CYstarters (CY for Cyclones), a 10-week summer accelerator for ISU students or recent graduates to focus on startup or existing business ideas. If accepted for the competitive program, individual students receive $6,500 or up to $13,000 per team to pursue these plans.
Also available at the Research Park is the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides resources and business plan training to aid with the development and launching of new ventures. Another successful incubator is the ISU Startup Factory, a 52-week intensive program that uses the best training practices from the likes of MIT, Stanford and other successful accelerators, giving entrepreneurs access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors and investors. Anyone from Ames – not just ISU students – can apply for the Startup Factory program.