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Changes at the BIZ

We have an exciting announcement about the future of the BIZ and wanted to share it with all of you first. As you may know, there is a gap in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem between companies that are in the incubation stage and those that have reached critical mass in customers and capital. The companies in this gap are high-potential companies that often need in-depth, long-term support that has not been available to date.

Launching Square One DSM

Accelerators in Iowa and beyond provide one avenue for these companies, but have limitations. Most accelerators host only one class per year and many are focused on a single industry. To address this need, the Greater Des Moines Partnership will open Square One DSM on May 1. This new facility will be an accelerator for local, high-potential companies that are past the incubation stage. This program will run year-round and tailor goals and expectations for each company accepted as well as a specific curriculum.

Square One DSM will take no equity and provide no investment dollars.

When the Partnership launched the Business Innovation Zone in 2007, the Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneurial scene was very different from what it is today. Simply put, Des Moines was not very entrepreneur friendly. Coming out of the 2009 recession, Des Moines saw a surge in activity by startup companies. Startup City was launched in 2010 and helped put Des Moines on the national map of entrepreneurial cities. Plains Angels followed in 2012 bringing better access to capital with $4M invested to date.

Square One DSM is the next step in supporting local entrepreneurs.

Square One DSM Contributions

  • Intense mentoring and development in a structured environment
  • High expectations of participating startups for progress and execution on a week-to-week basis
  • A physical location to work full time at no cost
  • Substantial access to mentors and investors, both angel and venture capital  
  • A focus on customer acquisition first and capital second
  • Support for building a viable, sustainable company set departure date for each startup

As a part of this new initiative, the BIZ brand will be retired. However, all events and activities of the BIZ will continue as part of Square One DSM.

Those interested in additional information about this new initiative can contact me at mcolwell@DSMpartnership.com. Details on the application process and criteria for acceptance with be made available by May 1. Members of the Square One DSM Advisory Committee will participate in the review of applicants and selection of companies.

Square One DSM will be the place to start building viable companies. We look forward to getting started.

Square One DSM, an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, is formerly known as Business Innovation Zone (BIZ).