story1SwineTech founder to represent U.S. in global startup competition
Matthew Rooda (left) and Abraham Espinoza standing with the first prize check at GSEA. CREDIT Facebook
Matthew Rooda, the co-founder of Iowa Startup Accelerator alum SwineTech, has been named the winner of the 2017 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards U.S. National Finals, and will represent the nation in the global final next month.
The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is run by Entrepreneurs' Organization, a global network that connects more than 12,000 business owners in more than 50 countries. GSEA is known as the premier global competition for students who own and operate a for-profit business while attending college. The competition took place March 6-7 at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center in Kansas City.
Mr. Rooda, a senior at the University of Iowa, won for his startup, which develops technology to reduce pre-wean mortality rates and improve herd health on sow farms. He received a $10,000 cash prize, and will attend the global finals in Frankfurt, Germany in April. The winner of the global finals will be named the EO Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year and will receive a $20,000 cash prize, as well as in-kind business services by EO members.
"I'm so honored to have been named the national U.S. winner for GSEA this year. At each stage of the competition, I was able to learn from the mentorship of EO members and judges," Mr. Rooda said in a press release. "It really is an honor to represent the University of Iowa and our nation at the global finals to compete against the best student-run businesses in the world."
Mr. Rooda and Abraham Espinoza founded SwineTech -- then known as Swineguard -- in the spring of 2015, going through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Student Accelerator program before being admitted to the Iowa Startup Accelerator in Cedar Rapids.
downtownBig Grove Brewery opens Iowa City location

A bartender at Big Grove pours a draw during yesterday's opening afternoon in Iowa City. CREDIT Chase Castle 
Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City opened last week, marking the completion of one of the neighborhood's first major revitalization projects in the emerging Riverfront Crossings district.

The brewery and taproom is located at at 1225 S. Gilbert St. on the east side of Iowa City in the former Iowa Hawk Shop Outlet Building.

The brewery is the second location for Big Grove, which opened a brew pub in Solon in 2013. Co-owner Matthew Swift previously indicated that the company does not plan to change any portion of the business in Solon, which will continue to operate as a brew pub, while the facility in Iowa City will become Big Grove's production brewery and taproom.

"It's exciting and nerve wracking, but at the same time, it's a wonderful feeling," Ben Smart, Big Grove's head chef, told the CBJ just before opening. "I'm glad that we're finally here."

In a memo to city representatives last year, City Manager Geoff Fruin wrote that since the city adopted the Downtown and Riverfront Crossings Master Plan in 2013, interest among developers in the district's eastern edge near Big Grove's location has been relatively slow.

"However, staff believes the creative reuse of the building is a perfect fit in the context of the overall plan," Mr. Fruin wrote.
Story2ICDD seeks nighttime mayor, revises retail position

Nancy Bird 
The Iowa City Downtown District plans to hire a "nighttime mayor" to support establishments that do most of their business after-hours, and is restructuring the retail development position previously held by Nate Kaeding.

In addition to a desire to bring more events downtown, Executive Director Nancy Bird said the nighttime mayor position will address what she describes as an outdated perception that the district only appeals to college students.

"We are finding that people who have not been downtown in several years have not experienced the positive changes made by our businesses since the 21-only ordinance or the growth of local and university cultural programming," Ms. Bird said in a press release. "They still think of downtown Iowa City as it was 10 years ago. It's a huge disconnect."

As the ICDD seeks applicants for a nighttime mayor, the district also is revising its retail development coordinator position, which until recently was held by Nate Kaeding.

In addition to working with the district, Mr. Kaeding is a former co-owner of the downtown pub Short's Burger and Shine, as well as Tailgate Clothing, a college apparel shop purchased by American Eagle Outfitters in 2015. He was named to the CBJ's 40 Under 40 class in 2014.

Presently, Mr. Kaeding co-owns Pullman Bar & Diner and the new Big Grove Brewery on South Gilbert Street, which opened on Wednesday.

"He has a number of other endeavors going on that kind of limit his number of hours with the district," Ms. Bird said. "So that's changing, but he's a valuable team member and helping with a number of ongoing projects this year."

Read the full story at
EcoLipsDeadline approaching for UI Business Model Competition

The deadline is approaching for the University of Iowa's Business Model Competition, which is open to all UI students and offering a total of $20,000 in cash prizes.

Hosted by the UI's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, the Business Model Competition (BMC) allows students with businesses at any stage of development to present their concepts to experienced business professionals for the opportunity to win seed funding for their business.

The competition is based on the methodology of the Business Model Canvas and requires that companies tell their story beginning from the idea stage, including pivots along the way. Participants will be required to provide a brief overview of their startup's story from the initial idea to its current stage.

Top finalists will be eligible to compete in the statewide Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition and the International Business Model Competition (IBMC).

Applications are due March 21 by 11:59 p.m., and a BMC workshop will be offered at MidWestOne Bank in downtown Iowa City from 11:30-12:30 p.m. on March 24. The competition will be held March 28-29 at the Pappajohn Business Building.

For more information about the competition or to apply, visit the Iowa JPEC website.

Neil Blumenthal 
Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker will keynote EntreFEST when it returns to downtown Iowa City on May 4-5.

Warby Parker is an online eyewear retailer founded in 2010 on the principle of offering designer eyewear at a revolutionary price. At just seven years old, the company has expanded rapidly with annual revenues topping $100 million and 50 brick-and-mortar locations across the United States.

Beyond his work with Warby Parker, Mr. Blumenthal was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.

"We are thrilled to have Neil Blumenthal keynote EntreFEST this year," said Jill Wilkins, events director with NewBoCo. "After listening to his story on the How I Built This podcast, we can't wait to meet him and hear about how he helped disrupt a long standing industry by building an innovative company to be a 'force for good.'"

In addition to Mr. Blumenthal, seven other nationally recognized business and marketing experts will present at EntreFEST, including:
  • Keith Adams, a native Iowan who led the Xbox Innovation & Experimentation Platform for Microsoft, who specializes in artificial intelligence, strategy, and new product development.
  • Jim Benson, author and CEO of Modus Cooperandi, where he helps companies and government agencies solve management, innovation and efficiency problems.
  • Elizabeth Caven, founder of Des Moines-based UpCraft Club, a fast growing online marketplace changing the crafting industry through technology.
  • Nick Saddock, an operations and engineering expert currently supporting Google's Iowa data centers.
  • Paul Singh, an entrepreneur, speaker, investor and "chief hustler" of Results Junkies, a project operating at the intersection of travel, photography, tech startups and venture capital. 
  • Freda Sojka, founder and CEO and founder of Simply Soothing, a family business in Columbus Junction.
  • Alicia Syrett, founder and CEO of Pantegrion Capital, an angel investment vehicle focused on seed and early stage investments.
EntreFEST is Iowa's largest entrepreneurial conference, and expects to bring more than 700 attendees to downtown Iowa City over the course of the two-day event. The event is co-produced by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo).
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the EntreFEST website.
ConsultingConsulting: Should road to litigation be the one less traveled?
In this week's consulting spotlight, Jonathan Schmidt, an attorney and partner with Nazette, Marner, Nathanson & Shea LLP, offers some thoughts on whether to take your business issue to court:

Lawyers are problem solvers for people, businesses and other organizations and entities. While sometimes lawyers are not engaged until a problem already exits, it's preferable to seek legal representation before and in anticipation of potential clashes down the proverbial road, just as it's preferable (and legally required) to buy car insurance before and in case there are crashes down the literal road.

Agreements are routinely drafted which explicitly spell out the expectations and rights of each party involved in a contract. Each contract contains implicit requirements of good faith and fair dealing. Common contracts are drafted between customers and businesses (such as a driver and an insurance agent), employees and employers, businesses and vendors and the principles and vested parties of partnerships, corporations and other organizations.

Detailed and careful language is used to prevent ambiguity and mitigate disagreements should a conflict arise. Just as an insurance policy cannot prevent an accident, an existing contract, no matter how detailed, precise and forward thinking, is no guarantee that disputes will not occur.

Litigation is a legal remedy which allows an independent judge or jury to determine the facts of a dispute or conflict within the context of the law, and then determine the outcome of that litigation.

When disputes arise, what are some considerations to remember when deciding whether to litigate?

Read the full column at
aroundtheweb From around the web: 
  • Crowdfunding is developing a sophisticated side, in which established entrepreneurs are pulling in serious money from investors with deep pockets, Crain's Chicago Business reports.
  • A new fintech conference focused on branded currency is headed for Omaha, Silicon Prairie News reports.
  • Small business owners remain optimistic on President Donald Trump, CNBC says, but now they want to see results.
  • Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst talked small business and entrepreneruship during a recent stop on her 99 County Tour, KTIV reports.
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Short-Term Event Planner
March 20
Coralville Roundtable - Brown Deer Golf Club, by the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, noon-1 p.m., 1900 Country Club Drive, Coralville. Roundtables are social lunches over the noon hour. All are invited to network, keep up to date with chamber and community events and frequent a member restaurant or business. For more information, call the chamber at (319) 337-9637.
March 21
Partnering for Growth Biotech Innovation Showcase , by the Iowa Biotechnology Association, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., FFA Enrichment Center, 1055 Southwest Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny. This showcase event features a gathering of innovators, inventors and investors collaborating on their work specific to the field of biotechnology. Cost: $100 for members, $125 for nonmembers. Teachers and students may attend for free. For more information, visit
Iowa City Roundtable - Share Wine Lounge & Small Plate Bistro, by the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, noon-1 p.m., 210 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Roundtables are social lunches over the noon hour. All are invited to network, keep up to date with chamber and community events and frequent a member restaurant or business. For more information, call the chamber at (319) 337-9637.
31st Annual Celebration of Agriculture , by the Celebration of Ag Committee, 6 p.m., U.S. Cellular Convention Center, 370 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids. Robert Dinneen, president and CEO of Renewable Fuels Association, will speak at this year's event to celebrate agribusiness and its economic impact in Eastern Iowa, starting with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and the program at 8 p.m. Cost: $40 per person. For more information, call Ryan Kay at (319) 895-8858.
Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28 
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28
The Village Meat Market in Czech Village is closed Thursday after a fire late Wednesday night. Crews were called to the market at 11:07 p.m. for a report of smoke in the area. When they got there, smoke was found coming from the roof of the market. Crews extinguished the fire and ventilated the structure. The market sustained moderate fire, smoke and water damage toward the back. No one was in the building at the time of the fire and it is under investigation. The market plans to reopen Friday for St. Patrick's Day.
T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast
The worst of the cold is behind us now and temperatures will slowly get back to normal through the end of the week. Clouds will continue to move in throughout the day as a weak disturbance triggers a few showers by the late afternoon/evening. Highs today will be in the mid-30s to the lower 40s with a southeastern breeze. Showers will mostly be rain (possibly a mix in the northeast) as temperatures will be above freezing for the first time in six days overnight tonight through early tomorrow morning.