Local entrepreneurs accepted to accelerator program

Nine Iowa City entrepreneurs will enter the Builders + Backers national idea accelerator program, aimed at taking fresh ideas from concept to action.

With the support of the Iowa EdTech Collaborative, the program is also welcoming one Cedar Rapids-based aspiring EdTech entrepreneur into the cohort.

The cohort’s ideas include low-bridge safety goggles designed for Asian facial structures, an arm wrap for chemo-based neuropathy, streamlining big data to generate insights for small to medium sized businesses, a digital platform for college planning, an open AI model sharing platform, a digital platform for skincare, an app for airport layovers and a new method of community economic development in Iowa City, according to the release.

“One of the beliefs that Builders and Backers was founded on is that ideas are everywhere,” said Liz Hubing, director of entrepreneurship and community engagement for ICAD. “We’ve witnessed this first-hand in Iowa City as we enter our third cohort of the Idea Accelerator program. The entrepreneurial spirit in our community continues to grow, and we were blown away by the number of high-quality, innovative ideas that applied to this cohort.”

Participants in Iowa City’s first Idea Accelerator met in May to celebrate achievements in the 90-day virtual program.

The participants from Iowa City this time will join builders from the Delta Region, west Tennessee, northwest Arkansas, the eastern Shawnee Tribe, Tulsa and Montgomery, Alabama in the three month program that kicks off Jan. 26.

“Once again, when we all put out the call for ideas in Iowa City, dozens of people responded with a wonderful range of possible new ventures,” said Donna Harris, CEO of Builders + Backers. “Everyone deserves a chance to give their ideas a go, so we’re thrilled to be working with ICAD to make that happen for so many people here in Iowa City.”

The 10 Builders in the Iowa City area cohort include:

  • Jackie Yeh and David Jun

  • Madeleine Humpal-Pash

  • Quincy Fuller

  • Madison Richard

  • Aravin Sivamurugan and Subin Erattakulangara

  • Syliva Jons

  • Simeon Talley

  • Brian Nigg

Since launching the first cohort in January of 2022, the Iowa City Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator Program has helped 23 entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.