Lisa Fitzgerald, Marketing Director
515-493-0821 or 515-210-6941


DES MOINES, Iowa (December 15th, 2020) – America’s Cultivation Corridor™ announced today the launch of the Cultivo™ Virtual Academy for international startup companies and entrepreneurs. The six week virtual program will provide participants with mentorship, interaction with Iowa’s agricultural leaders, and an online curriculum focused on U.S. market entry, regulatory and financing systems, and customer perspectives.

Applications for the program are now being accepted through February 16, 2021 at Selected applicants will be notified in March 2021, and the first cohort is expected to begin in April. All educational sessions will be facilitated by Iowa business and university leaders. Upon successful completion of the virtual program, cohort participants will be eligible to attend an in-person, week-long Cultivo event in Iowa, currently slated for 2022. The in-person event will provide additional training and an opportunity to network with mentors, Iowa industry leadership and startups, and tour Iowa farms and Iowa State University.

“While COVID-19 has stopped international travel, it has not slowed innovation in agriculture and biosciences in Iowa. In fact, advancing innovation is more critical than ever to address growing challenges of global food security and sustainability,” said Judd O’Connor, President of U.S. Commercial Business for Corteva Agriscience, and Chairman of the Cultivation Corridor Board of Directors. “The Cultivo Virtual Academy is the perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs and founders to access the expertise of Iowa leadership and engage with world-renowned researchers, industry leaders, and farmers as they develop their technologies and businesses.”

America’s Cultivation Corridor will host and coordinate the Cultivo Virtual Academy in partnership with its investors and supporting organizations. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is the presenting sponsor of the program.

“There is no better place to develop and grow agricultural businesses and technologies than Iowa,” said Debi Durham, executive director of IEDA and the Iowa Finance Authority. “With a strong network of university researchers, industry leadership, startup companies and forward-thinking farmers and livestock producers, the next generation of ag innovations is underway here. We look forward to the networks and new opportunities that will be built when entrepreneurs from around the world come together with Iowa’s best and brightest in the Cultivo Virtual Academy.”

The program will be hosted via the Virtual Academy Hub, a professionally managed platform for learning and engagement. The following topics will be covered during the three hours of programming each week of the session:

  • Introduction to the U.S. startup community and entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • U.S. investment in startups
  • How to connect for partnerships and acquisitions to build a business
  • Training and mentor support for pitch development
  • U.S. financial system and regulatory programs
  • Pathways to introduce technologies in the U.S.
  • Supply chain, workforce

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, cohort participation, to apply, visit or contact Bill Hunt, executive director at America’s Cultivation Corridor at Applications must be submitted by February 16, 2021.

Investors and partners of America’s Cultivation Corridor are working together to accelerate the development of new technologies, strengthen Iowa’s ag bioscience workforce, and attract economic development, all focused on meeting the challenge of feeding a growing world population in a sustainable way.

Stakeholders in America’s Cultivation Corridor include Iowa State University, Corteva Agriscience, Deere & Company, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Pork Producers, Kent Corporation, MidAmerican Energy Company, Ames Economic Development Corporation, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Farm Bureau, ISG, Kemin, REG, and Sukup Manufacturing.

More information is available at, or by following on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

About America’s Cultivation Corridor
Focused on further developing and marketing the world-renowned agricultural and bioscience economy in Iowa, America’s Cultivation Corridor is building on a rich history of innovation to accelerate value-added agriculture business development by attracting companies, talent and capital from across the globe to the state. Representing a diverse public-private coalition of stakeholders including Iowa State University, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Ames Chamber of Commerce, nonprofits and private sector companies from across the region and state, the Cultivation Corridor is one of the nation’s foremost cluster-based economic development organizations. For more information, visit