Iowa City

#Eurkea - Proudly Creating in Iowa

Last week I was walking downtown in Iowa City and I saw a poster for Creative Week which made me do a double take. Creative week? In Iowa?! How exciting! I went home and looked up the event and much to my surprise discovered something called Iowa's Creative Corridor. The Iowa Creative Corridor is the area in the map below. The organization seeks to bring together all of the creative people and ideas in the area to support one another. This week they are having a ton of events to demonstrate all of the great things happening in the area. The organization also provides many resources and services to those starting a business.


Many of the events that were speeches, panels, and conferences, I was not able to attend because they were during the workday and again I could not take time off due to a project at work. However, I was able to attend the first ever Startup Town Hall in Iowa City at the Innovation Expo. The event had three speakers that discussed how Iowa City can create a community and network that supports new startups. The speakers included Dan Reed (VP for Research & Economic Development for the University of Iowa), Scott Case (CEO of Startup America Partnership, former CEO of Malaria No More, and founder of Priceline), and Scott Heifman founder of  which I am currently using to put together a Lean In group. 

The panel started by showing the short video below which I loved. A few of the speakers on the video I have connected in the past for speaking at Iowa HOBY and it reminded me to meet up with them now that I live here. The panel talked about how in the past, if you wanted to be creative or be part of a startup, you had to move to either the Silicon Valley or New York City. Now there are many places where you can be successful and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids  areas is working on becoming one of the those places. One of the thing that draws me to want to live in a bigger city is the ability to  be among a creative class and have a creative network , so it made me happy to hear that people were working on building that support here. 

On a side note, I also learned that the average age of CEO for a startup is 40 and that the best talent for building a creative community are between the ages of 25-30. This information reassured me that I am not behind the game at age 28 . . .

The panel was very inspiring for me to discover that this network exists and hear advice from CEOs that I can apply to the work I am doing. It was comforting being in a huge room with people like me: wearing huge plastic glasses, buzzing about what hashtag to use, taking furious notes, asking questions, and trying to get the perfect photo to Instagram. I fit in and it felt good and motivated me to work on my Startup idea (teaser).

My favorite quote of the night came from Dan Reed -  

"Make new and original mistakes. . . The mark of success is how many times you have tried and failed."



Documenting the Days - Iowa City Farmer's Market

A few years ago I was interviewing a high student at an Iowa HOBY conference about why he would be a good state representative from to attend WLC (World Leadership Congress). The student said, "Iowa feeds the world, I am proud to be from a place that can say that." It was a very impressive answer for the fifteen year-old, and one I think about often, especially when I wish we were matched somewhere else.

The true meaning of this statement really hit me when I had the opportunity to attend the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogues last year in Des Moines, IA.  This past week, in honor of World Food Day on Tuesday, Des Moines hosted the same series of events where the world leaders, scientists, CEOS, and researchers come together to discuss how to decrease hunger. The World Food Prize organization puts all of these events on in honor of Iowa Native Norman Borlaug who is known for saving more lives than other human because of the farming technologies he created. The World Food Prize is an award the equivalent of the Nobel Peace Price and is given to an individual each year that is working to decrease hunger and poverty. The headquarters of this organization is in the incredible Hall of Laureates in Des Moines which I recommend you stop by for a tour if you are ever there. I attended last year's events with a high school student who competed in an academic competition. I found out about the World Food prize and the competition from a HOBY friend who works in the office and connected me with the organization. I learned so much about food, agriculture, and research last year that I promised myself I would go back as much as possible. This week I was unable to take off work to attend because of a project at my new job and was very upset I missed it.

The World Food Prize organization is something that I love and because I could not attend the events this year I thought I would pay tribute to it and Iowa by showing a few photos my friend Justine and I took at the Farmer's Market this weekend. The Farmer's Market ends soon and I will miss the weekly reminder of what makes Iowa special.