Tue, Feb 20, 2018

​Article courtesy of Ames Tribune

By Dan Mika, Staff Writer, Ames Tribune

Billi Hunt, the new director of the Cultivation Corridor, is planning for a major promotional push for the group a few days into her new job.

Hunt was named to the Cultivation Corridor’s executive director role late last month. She was most recently a government affairs manager with DuPont for 19 years, focusing on lobbying and partnerships in Midwest states. She was previously a delegate member for the group.

Hunt replaces founding executive director Brent Willett, who left the post last August to become CEO of the Iowa Health Care Association.

Hunt, an Iowa native and ISU graduate, said the job fulfills her trifecta of loves for agriculture, ISU and the state in general. She said Willett did a good job in building the group’s identity, and it’s now her job to spread it across the state.

“Eighty percent of my time is to focus on brand enhancement, economic development, fostering innovation,” she said.

The Corridor, founded in 2014, is an economic development group that works on attracting agriculture and biotechnology companies to the state. It has backing from the Ames Chamber of Commerce, Iowa State University, the Greater Des Moines Partnership and several private sector companies.

The strategy she hopes to take the Corridor out to the community through “grassroots” outreach with local groups within the next two years, speaking with individuals, businesses and civic groups, along with a boosted social media campaign.

She said local residents that don’t work in agriculture or technology jobs or have interest in economic development issues don’t know what the Corridor is or how it can benefit the region. If more people knew about what the Corridor does, it would make the region more attractive for people potentially looking to move, Hunt said.

“Those who work in the industry, those who are trying to move things forward understand it very well, but a neighbor two houses down might not know what the Cultivation Corridor is,” she said. “We have to explain that, we have to bring them into the fold.”

Hunt said her background in agriculture will be helpful for economic developers in Ames or Des Moines when they attempt to attract investment and companies in the agricultural or biotech sectors based on her existing relationships developed at DuPont and her former job as agriculture coordinator with what was then the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce (that organization later rebranded as the Greater Des Moines Partnership.)

Hunt also believes the Corridor and its support of the Ag Startup Engine, based at the ISU Research Park, makes the group’s work important for the farmers that most benefit from those products, whether they help farmers cut down on input costs or give them historical data on how their plots are doing.

“Some of these small entrepreneurs in the state that are doing some really cool things,” she said. “...They’re new, they’re innovative.”

Read the full article at amestrib.com.


Ag Startup Engine is advancing agriculture in Iowa

Wed, Apr 26, 2017

Iowa State University Research Park Corporation

​The Ag Startup Engine is a systematic program designed to guide agricultural entrepreneurs toward success with the help of business professionals and financial support. The program works alongside the ISU Startup Factory, a broader initiative that works to foster technology-based businesses with Iowa State students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Read More »

Ames, GlobalVetLINK take home top honors at state tech awards

Fri, Apr 21, 2017

Iowa State University Research Park Corporation

​The city of Ames was named the state’s technology community of the year by the Technology Association of Iowa at the 2017 Prometheus Awards held on April 20th. Ames-based animal health company GlobalVetLINK took home two awards as the agricultural technology company and small- to mid-size company of the year.

Read More »

ISU’s Ag Startup Engine Partners With The Iowa Farm Bureau Restore Rural Iowa Program

Mon, Apr 10, 2017

Iowa State University Research Park Corporation

​Iowa Farm Bureau’s statewide development initiative, Renew Rural Iowa (RRIA), has teamed up with the Ag Startup Engine (ASE) at the Iowa State University (ISU) Research Park to bring education, mentoring and financing resources to Iowa entrepreneurs. The announcement comes only a few weeks after a Des Moines-based capital firm, Next Level Ventures, joined the ASE efforts.

Read More »

New airport hangar plays a key role in Ames’ economic development tool kit

Mon, Apr 10, 2017

Iowa State University Office of Economic Development & Industry Relations (EDIR)

​Members of the community came in droves Saturday to celebrate the official opening of the new 11,400-square-foot Ames Municipal Airport Hangar and to welcome the airport’s new fixed base operator, Central Iowa Air Service. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony, held for the new $1.1 million hangar, marks the completion of Phase I of a multi-phased airport modernization project. Phase II includes construction of a new 6,900-square-foot terminal.

Read More »

Ag Startup Engine to Drive Entrepreneurship in Central Iowa

Wed, Apr 5, 2017

Iowa State University Research Park Corporation

​Located in the ISU Research Park, the Ag Startup Engine is an accelerator to be utilized by agricultural entrepreneurs, and create a structured pathway to financing new business ventures.

“The primary goal is to fill a gap between when an entrepreneur has an idea and is beginning to develop the business, and trying to provide both funding and a mentoring structure for helping them to get to the point of being investment ready,” said Kevin Kimle, co-director of the Ag Startup Engine and director of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative. Read More »

Ames named among top cities for entrepreneurs

Wed, Apr 5, 2017

Iowa State University Research Park Corporation

In a recent ranking by the community research resource site Livability.com, Ames was ranked eighth out of the top 50 cities for entrepreneurs in 2017. In this Ames Tribune article,staff writer Grayson Schmidt sits down with ISU Research Park Director Steve Carter and ISU Senior and Entrepreneur Club President Brendon Geils to talk about the assets and activities within the community that are worthy of the attention.

Read More »