The Iowa Rural Equity Project (IREP)
is a collaborative education program that aims to assist rural stakeholders in fostering more informed equity capital decisions regarding personal and community investments in next generation Ag Tech and rural innovation ventures.
The IREP collaboration includes: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Community Vitality Center (CVC), Ag Entrepreneurship Initiative (AEI), Ag Ventures Alliance (AgVA), Iowa MicroLoan (IFMCV), U.S. Dept. of Commerce, and others.
In recent years, a growing number of Ag-Technology Accelerators, Emerging Entrepreneur Pitch Events, and Investor Workshops have emerged in Iowa and the Midwest. Most of the venture capital and angel investor participants investing in the emerging rural ventures are from metropolitan-based funds and investors. In addition, strategic ventures sometimes emerge in rural areas and require access to external industry expertise and larger capital networks for success. While Iowans demonstrated rural capital capacity by investing in biofuels a decade ago, organized investment funds and networks that evaluate rural ventures and provide equity capital like those in metro areas are not well organized and are spotty in Iowa and the rural Midwest.
IREP is designed to:
- Develop personal skills for evaluation of strategic rural venture projects
- Connect local stakeholders with other local and external networks for greater awareness of emerging Ag Tech investment opportunities, and
- Provide access to technical assistance, rural equity funds, and angel networks for making more informed investment choices about rural venture opportunities seeking rural locations and rural equity investment in Iowa and Midwest.