Resources for Entrepreneurs: Idea Stage

Inspire. Educate. Validate.

The idea stage is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.


Startup Media

Local entrepreneurship + business news, startup press, and communication channels.

Newspapers + Publications

Cedar Rapids Gazette: digital + print news sources covering ICR Iowa.

Corridor Business Journal: digital + print news source covering business in ICR Iowa.

Iowa City Press Citizen: digital + print news source covering the Iowa City area.


Greater Iowa City Inc. Newsletter: newsletter that provides news and updates related to the Greater Iowa City business community.

EDC Newsletter: newsletter that provides news and updates to support startups and small businesses

Iowa City Downtown District Newsletter: newsletter that provides news and updates related to downtown Iowa City retail and restaurants.

IASourceLink Monthly Newsletter: Every month IASourceLink’s e-newsletter will provide you with the latest information on Iowa’s business community, updates on upcoming events, and technology tools & tips to help you grow your business.

Iowa Small Business Development Center: to subscribe, text iowasbdc to 22828.

Startup Digest (Techstars): The personalized insider newsletter for all things startup in Iowa City-Cedar Rapids and around the world.


Built in Iowa: a podcast highlighting CEOs, Founders, and Entrepreneurs that are starting, building, and growing companies in the state of Iowa.

The Iowa Idea: a podcast exploring modern collaboration, craft, and persistence and featuring in-depth conversations with artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders, to learn how they approach their craft and represent a modern version of the Iowa Idea.

Inspirational Startup Events + Groups

Open, inclusive, beginner entrepreneurial events.

Business + Entrepreneurship Events

1 Million Cups: Startups + small businesses give a 6-minute (okay, sometimes longer…) presentation about their business + receive feedback from the crowd.

Business Leaders of Iowa’s Creative Corridor: semi-regular event for people to network, learn, and help the community.

C.A.L.L. – Corridor Area Leadership Live: C.A.L.L. is an opportunity to connect and grow with other community-minded people while hearing a few presentations at a local business every other month.

EDC Networking: EDC networking events are designed to increase awareness of the impact of Iowa-based businesses as well as create opportunities for business owners to connect and learn from each other.

First Friday Coffee Connection: a monthly event to connect members of the business community before you head to work.

Iowa City Open Coffee: a weekly meetup featuring coffee with entrepreneurs + creatives in the Iowa City area.

Iowa City Startup Weekend: a 54-hour weekend event, during which groups of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and more!

Targeted Small Business (TSB) Networking: Exclusive to TSB-designated businesses. Meet with other business owners, public purchasing managers and private buyers.

TechBrew: TechBrew, which is hosted by the Technology Association of Iowa, features an exclusive interview with a local technology executive.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Lunch: a quarterly lunch event featuring a presentation from a local female entrepreneur + networking with area entrepreneurs.

Community Events

First Round: a monthly networking + storytelling event for creative influencers in the business + arts communities.

LINC (Local and Inspired, New and Curious): a quarterly event for people to connect with Iowa City business + community leaders and meet the people + organizations that make this area home.

Sisters at the Center (Sankofa Outreach Connection): A series of programs intended to educate and create a sense of connectedness for women of color.

University of Iowa Events

IdeaStorm: Entry level pitch competition across the University of Iowa’s campus that encourages students to share their innovative ideas with others, all while familiarizing themselves with the pitching process.

Iowa Startup Games: Three-day event where students, from all areas of study, pitch their ideas to have an impact. After you pitch, you will form teams and work together to bring the best ideas to life. By the third day, each team will pitch to a group of panelists for a chance to win cash prizes.

Iowa Innovation Challenge: The Challenge is a university-wide competition with the goal to identify, advance and support the most innovative and entrepreneurial projects on campus.

Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition: A statewide competition where students in Iowa colleges and universities who have interest in starting their own venture can compete to win one of three seed grants in the amount of $5,000 each. Business plans will be judged based on content, concept, and viability of their business idea.


Business Partnership Ambassadors: Ambassadors, each from a different Business Partnership member organization, celebrate member ribbon cuttings and ground breaking ceremonies, honor long-standing members in the community, recruit new Business Partnership members and volunteer at events.

Business Partnership Referral Exchange: Connects non-competing Business Partnership member businesses for the sole purpose of sharing leads, referrals, tips, information and advice that directly support their ability to drive business.

Business Partnership Peer2Peer Networking: Peer2Peer groups connect Business Partnership member businesses or individuals with other industry peers to share best practices, new techniques, and visionary solutions.

COMUN: Women’s Collective in the Iowa City area to help and support immigrant women and Women of Color to launch their own home businesses.

Connect & Cultivate: A Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color Empowerment Circle: A 75-minute softly guided virtual space for women of color seeking a space to replenish, process, and honor the best version of themselves while sharing sistering energies with other women.

EDC Referral Network: EDC has a large network of subject matter experts who can provide various services and products to help your business with legal, accounting, design and more.

Empower Her Co: A community that challenges women to go after big goals while providing the support and resources they need to overcome obstacles along the way.

Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) Retail/Restaurant Caucuses: Exclusive to ICDD retail and restaurants. Connect with local business owners, marketing, advertising, PR, and event planning leads.

Sankofa: “Sisters at the Center” is a series of programs intended to educate, while simultaneously create a sense of connectedness for, women of color.  ​Check out our calendar for activities that we are sponsoring in the community.

  • Community Mentoring Program: Community mentors that help new friends, neighbors and employees feel welcomed in Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty area.
  • Sisters in Power (SIP): SIP is an avenue to get women of color in the Iowa City area together to meet and greet and grow local relationships.

SCORE Mentors East Central Iowa: SCORE offers the largest network of volunteer business mentors providing free answers to your business questions through online and in person workshops, one-on-one mentoring, and as a resource on Facebook. is a developer group in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, IA. If you’re interested in programming, the intertubes, and whatnot, this is the group for you.


Get Connected + Learn From Others

Beginner knowledge-sharing events.

Business + Entrepreneurship Events

1 Million Cups: Startups + small businesses give a 6-minute (okay, sometimes longer…) presentation about their business + receive feedback from the crowd.

Advance in 60: Practical, expert advice shared to advance businesses and entrepreneurs 60 minutes at a time

Business Partnership Breakfast Smart Series: Quarterly educational sessions that inform, enlighten and provide participants with the know-how to make important decisions for their business.

EntreFEST: two-day conference celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation where professionals at every level can come together, share ideas, and own their success.

Let’s Get Digital: what was once a monthly in-person meet-up for modern marketers in ICR Iowa is now a monthly virtual game show for modern marketers. 

SCORE Workshops: Learn from the experts at SCORE East Central Iowa’s small business training workshops.

Empower by GoDaddy: Empower by GoDaddy in partnership with Jane Boyd is a social impact program equipping entrepreneurs in underserved areas with the training, tools and resources that they need to start a new business.


ICR Iowa Marketers: a Facebook group for conversation and connection around digital marketing – with a local edge.

Startup Iowa: a Facebook group for anyone interested or involved in the Iowa startup community. Use this forum to discuss, update, promote, educate, announce, debate or anything else you think brings value.

Startup Training & Feedback Events

Skill & Idea development events.

Bootcamps + Training Programs


Team Formation

Events and Resources for teaming up.

Team Recruitment + Co-founder Matching

Product Development

Hackathons & resources to help build your first product.


Iowa City Fab Lab: A community center with tools such as a table saw, CNC router, sewing machines, 3D printers, soldering irons, laser cutters/engravers, large format printer, vinyl cutter, computers, and more.

Protostudios: state-of-the-art rapid-prototyping facility that will work with you to develop fully functional prototypes of your idea, allowing you to test, redesign, determine manufacturing paths or demonstrate usability to investors.



MERGE offers an open coworking space with benches, dedicated offices, conference rooms, large training room, business resources, community events, Wi-Fi powered by ImOn, free coffee, and much more!

Learn more about each location and membership plans:


Greater Iowa City Inc.

Greater Iowa City, Inc. (Greater IC) is a network of business and public sector leaders who collaborate to support local companies, guide investment, and grow a resilient economy.

Learn More

Are you a startup, entrepreneur, traveling digital nomad or just looking for space to work?



The IC CoLab is different. It’s not just a great place to work; it’s the best place to grow.  The IC Colab was Mazira’s introduction to the startup ecosystem. We made new connections, acquired new contracts and friendly advice is always just around the corner.

Anith Mathai
CEO, Mazira

Our CoLab space in Coralville provides business and entrepreneurial resources to our members, including Backspace Group, Inland Bank & Trust, Letter B, Culture Friendly Consulting, and John Naeve.

Mark Nolte
President, ICAD Group

The IC CoLab opened its doors at an opportune time for Radiology Protocols. We are a young company and needed to expand. Not only did the IC CoLab provide the space and office infrastructure we needed; it connected Radiology Protocols to the business community and the wider entrepreneurial network. The culture of energy and connectivity at the IC CoLab is invaluable to an entrepreneur.

Stephen Baker B.S. RT(R) (MR)
Founder & President, Radiology Protocols