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Tag Archives: start up

Why Co-Working Space is Critical in Fostering a Start-up Culture

Recently, Nate Clayberg of the Alliance & Chamber and entrepreneur Trace Stephan of the HowFactory spoke with Gary Edwards on KXEL’s Morning Show about the value of co-working spaces. Much of what they discussed is outlined here.

Over the last year, there has been increased activity in the Cedar Valley to build a stronger base for entrepreneurs to build their businesses in the region. This “entrepreneurial ecosystem” provides resources to people with business start-up ideas to help move from an idea into a scalable business. A part of many successful “ecosystems” is “co-working space.”

A business facility known as a Co-working space describes an existing space where independent workers work alongside each other in an open environment. The space is also open to independent contractors and work-at-home professionals that shared similar values and interests. This environment fosters a synergy among the informal colleagues that help each personally in their professional work through pursuing separate business start-ups.

The Cedar Valley has a rich history of visionary entrepreneurs. Today, members of the entrepreneurship community are looking for a central gathering point to exchange ideas, work through solutions and scale their businesses. A “ground zero” for entrepreneurship has not yet existed in this area. While similar settings do exist on the UNI campus, in coffee shops in Waterloo, Cedar Falls and other regional communities, a true Cedar Valley co-working space does not. The co-working spaces in place in competitive Iowa markets are drawing attention from these ambitious start-ups.

Co-working space should not be confused with incubators, accelerators or private shared office suite operations, offer in many cities. The co-working environment is not about the real estate, rather it is about forming a community and work culture that nurtures successful entrepreneurship.

So, who are the entrepreneurs in the Cedar Valley that would use this space? What do they do? Who do they work for? Why are they in the Cedar Valley? It is easy to identify some of them, but not all.

Based on Brad Feld’s book Startup Communities, there are “leaders” and “feeders” in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The “feeders” are groups like the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Community Main Street organizations, universities, local and state government, banks and investors that support business growth. The “leaders” are people and companies that have a direct interest in supporting this type of activity because it impacts the success of their own business endeavor.

When the entrepreneurship community takes the lead there is a greater chance for the space and its users to flourish. The role of the “feeder” is to help guide new businesses down the right path and to support the co-working concept.

Today the Cedar Valley “feeders” are actively working with the “leaders” to identify the market for a Cedar Valley co-working space in Cedar Valley. The next step is to hold Jellies – a form of “pop-up” or “flash” co-working space-filling events. The first Jelly took place on July 31st at the office of a start-up business in Waterloo. The next Jelly will intentionally build a following that leads to the creation of a permanent co-working space in the Cedar Valley.

Jack Henry Acquires Bank Tech Startup Banno

by Sarah Todd, AmericanBanker.com

MAR 4, 2014 1:48pm

The banking software provider Jack Henry & Associates (JKHY) has acquired the banking technology startup Banno.

Banno’s operations and management teams will continue working out of the company’s locations in Cedar Falls and Des Moines, Iowa, the companies said in a joint press release Tuesday. The price of the deal was not disclosed.

The deal follows a July 2013 partnership in which Jack Henry’s ProfitStars division sold Banno’s Grip mobile application under the name Andiamo, according to the release. The app helps bank customers comparison-shop and decide whether to make purchases.

“Banno’s reputation for innovative solutions is apparent in the industry, but it became more visible to us when we formed our business partnership and developed our Andiamo solution,” ProfitStars president David Foss said in the release. “We know firsthand that Banno is committed to delivering the most high-demand technology coupled with unmatched support and service, which are two areas of business that we place a high value on here at Jack Henry.”

Founded in 2008, Banno serves more than 375 financial institutions. The company’s other core services include a targeted online advertising platform and a responsive-website design and development tool. It was named one of American Banker‘s “Top 10 Tech Companies to Watch for 2012.”

“This acquisition is a tremendous opportunity for Banno to leverage Jack Henry’s proven technologies,” Banno Chief Executive Wade Arnold said in the release.


Cedar Valley of Iowa -The 2nd Annual Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley contest concluded on the evening of October 18th, 2012 with a “pitch-off” by five finalist of the online popular vote portion of the $5,000 grant contest.

The winner of the pitch-off, Lizzy Mae’s Cupcakes & Sweets – pitched by Dawn Pursell of Waverly, was chosen by a panel of business entrepreneurs and experts from the fields of law, technology, finance and entertainment. Twenty-one start-ups and small businesses participated in the popular online voting generating over 9,300 votes, from 44 states and 16 countries.

The Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley competition provides early stage and emerging small business an additional financial boost to accelerate the growth of their business.  The contest was open to start-up and small businesses in the Cedar Valley Economic Area comprised of Butler, Bremer, Buchanan, Black Hawk, Chickasaw, Grundy, and Tama counties.

“This year we saw more businesses competing in the contest take advantage of the free business services available through the University of Northern Iowa, MyEntrenet and the Small Business Development Center” commented Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber.

“This is the whole point of the contest…helping these individuals take their business idea to the next level.” added Nate Clayberg, Chair, Cedar Valley Marketing Partnership.

Both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber and the Cedar Valley Regional Partnership were regional sponsors of the statewide contest.  Lizzy Mae’s Cupcakes & Sweets will compete March 7, 2013 for a chance to win $10,000 at the statewide pitch off sponsored by MyEntre.net during their annual conference. Pursell plans to use the prize money to expand her baking operation and open a store front in Waverly.

Other event sponsors for the Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley Pitch-Off event included, MyEntre.net, UNI’s Business Incubator, Point Builders and PDCM Insurance.

Other finalist included:

Computer Troubleshooters Computer Service and Sales(Cory Vieth) – Waterloo, Eat Cakes Cakery (Elizabeth Wilson)– Hudson , Watapri (Jane Zehr)– Waverly, and Recycle Rite Inc. (Brian Hoyer)- Cedar Falls.

Kate Washut of Far Reach Technologies moderated the Pitch-off. The judges panel included; Wade Arnold CEO of Banno; Darin Beck CEO of Barmuda MMC; Eric Johnson of Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman & Johnson, P.C.; Mark Stewart of Prime Logic Partners and Nick Evens of  The Veridian Group.


Returning to the Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley Pitch-Off event and delivering the keynote was author Sarah Miller Caldicott, great grand niece of Thomas Edison. Caldicott’s presentation How Collaboration Drives Innovation: A Midnight Lunch with Thomas Edison, was based on a soon to be released book. Co – author of the book Innovate Like Edison, Caldicott has recently released an e-book titled Inventing the Future: What Would Thomas Edison be Doing Today.


Dust added, “Cedar Valley Innovation Day is one way to celebrate the strength and vitality of the individual entrepreneurial drive in the Cedar Valley economic area, and the improvements it brings our businesses and lives.


The contestants of Dream Big Grow Here-Cedar Valley have taken the first steps to growing the next dominant business with whatever product or service improvement they have put into the marketplace. These aren’t hobbies, or businesses that plan to remain garage-based operations. DBGH-Cedar Valley contestants are in the mold of many, many other Cedar Valley dreamers who started with a vision to help businesses and consumers to do something better – innovating. Their success at innovation has earned them a place among the best in the nation in their industries. Remember, the innovation of John Froelich and his partners in the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Co. – introducing gasoline powered traction – changed agriculture around the globe. It’s that commitment to find new, better ways to produce and provide in America’s Free Enterprise system – innovation – from the Cedar Valley – that is celebrated in this event.


Cedar Valley Innovation Day is a way to inform and demonstrate why it’s critical to create a welcoming place for people to innovate. We need that brainpower – continually striving to find the next better way to do something – create – make – or deliver something – to expand our economy. Encouraging, welcoming and celebrating innovation is still another way to Be Part of Something Greater – the Cedar Valley of Iowa.”


More information about Lizzy Mae’s Cupcakes & Sweets can be found at www.facebook.com/LizzyMaes Cupcakes Sweets.


Plans are already underway for the 2013 Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley & Cedar Valley Innovation Day.  Businesses and individuals interested in participating or sponsorships should contact the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber at 319-232-1156.


Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees