Corridor support needed for entrepreneurs

By Amanda Styron/Guest Editorial

What would you say to a young Arthur Collins if you saw him today? In asking this question around the region, we’ve heard answers range from “thank you,” “how can I help” and “can I invest;” all great answers. This is important because our region’s answer to this question will determine our success as a community and economy.

When Mr. Collins was a passionate 9-year-old with a deep interest in radio technology, the region responded positively. His father supported his new hobby and he found like-minded peers to build radios with and encouraging family friends who would bring them scrap materials from their workplace, Quaker Oats.

With this early support, he went on to secure one of the first licenses in the country to be an amateur radio operator. He established a global network with other radio enthusiasts in places such as Australia and Germany, played a critical role in the first exploration of the North Pole (he was the only person in the world who could radio the expedition when he was just 15), and started a company that today is the largest employer in the Corridor and an American icon.

Mr. Collins was able to change the world from here and create a cornerstone for our regional economy because he found 1) a local community of support for his interests, 2) access to global networks and opportunities and 3) possibility in this place to build his ideas here.

The Creative Corridor Project is designed to help more people tap into the support, access and opportunity in our region that helped Mr. Collins become a great success. Across our seven counties today, people with innovative ideas and deep creative interests are building innovative companies and great community vibrancy. Through the project, we aim to connect them with other like-minded people and resources and inspire all of us with the stories of many others like Mr. Collins who have and are changing the world from the Corridor.

The Creative Corridor Project is one of many next steps our region is taking to come together around our new shared identity, Iowa’s Creative Corridor. For this one, we’re focusing internally, meaning we aim to inspire, connect and empower the current citizens of our region. The leaders of the project, including the Creative Corridor’s regional branding task force, Seed Here Studio and more than 50 collaborating organizations, believe that by engaging our existing residents and supporting their innovative ideas, we will create more new companies, authentic vibrancy and buzz for our region that will lead to the sustainable economic prosperity and healthy communities for which we all strive.

With this aim in mind, the Project is now launching four distinct programs:

Creative Corridor digest: A weekly curated email of the most exciting innovation news and events in the region. Subscribe to get connected to our growing creative community and submit events that train, connect and celebrate innovators to reach an engaged regional audience.

Creative Corridor stories: An ever-growing collection of media profiling our region’s game-changing creatives and innovators. A new portrait, written article or video is published each week. Explore the stories, be inspired and share them to spread the word about our creative people and innovative places. Syndicate the stories under a creative commons license for use in your own communication pieces.

Creative Week 2013: A weeklong region-wide celebration Oct. 19-26 highlighting innovation and great works from around the area: from art, culinary, and advanced manufacturing to literature, agriculture and breakthrough technology. Host an event this week to showcase your company or community’s creative works and innovation success.

The We Create Here campaign: A pride campaign of stickers, window clings, web buttons and t-shirts for everyone to show their pride in our region. Download, edit and post the We Create Here graphics on your websites, communication materials and social media channels.

Learn more and get involved at We hope you will join in to make each of these programs a widespread success. If we do, we can collectively answer the many more Arthur Collins in our midst today letting them (and the world) know our region is a place where no matter your age, background or geography, you can build your ideas and change the world here.

Amanda Styron is co-founder and CEO of Seed Here Studio and the project lead for The Creative Corridor Project. Learn more and join in at