Builders + Backers returns to IC, welcoming third cohort class

Builders + Backers returns to Iowa City in January.
Builders + Backers returns to Iowa City in January. CREDIT BUILDERS + BACKERS

The Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator is once again accepting applications for a new class of pioneering entrepreneurs.

In partnership with Heartland Forward and the Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD), Builders + Backers puts local entrepreneurs through a product development bootcamp to flesh out plans and develop a business strategy. All builders receive a $5,000 pebble grant to test their ideas.

“[Participants] will be matched with amazing mentors and resources to help them learn how to design and run small experiments – an essential skill of the digital future,” said Kyle Smith, a program manager for Builders + Backers, in a press release. “Once they complete the program, they become a part of our alumni network, where they’ll maintain access to a community full of resources for these and future experiments.”

The program will run from Jan. 26 – April 20, 2023. Applications will close Dec. 30.

Early admission selection will occur at the beginning of December. To be eligible for early admission, participants must submit an application by Dec. 5. Builders not selected for early admission may still be considered for entry into the program.

Iowa City’s inaugural cohort class began in January, and its second and (final) cohort class of the year took place from June-September.

Informational webinars will be held online on Nov. 29 and Dec. 15.

Notable business ideas evolved through the program in Iowa City include a music education app modeled after language-learning apps like Duolingo; a networking group for women in the tech field; a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) audit consulting business for local employers; expos for underrepresented artists; and a startup energy company using buoy technology to harness the power of ocean waves.