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America’s Cultivation Corridor, partners launch global ag immersion program for countries


America’s Cultivation Corridor is partnering with multiple state and private partners to launch the Cultivo Global Ag Innovation Program, a 10-day immersion cohort designed to introduce international ag startups to leading companies and organizations in Iowa. The first cohort will begin in spring 2020.

Each Cultivo cohort will host startups selected from one targeted country to visit Iowa and meet with researchers and business leaders, said Cultivation Corridor chair Charles Sukup at a Wednesday evening conference. The announcement came in the midst of the 2019 Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium held in Des Moines, which attracts more than 1,000 global participants. 

Cultivo will host five to 10 startups based in the Des Moines-Ames corridor during the cohort. The cohort will include training on the U.S. regulatory and financial systems and visits with Iowa State University researchers, farmers and livestock producers. Cultivation Corridor is partnering with the Iowa State university Startup Factory, Iowa AgriTech Accelerator, ISU Pappajohn Center and the ISU Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative. Cultivo will be led by staff at Cultivation Corridor, executive director Billi Hunt said. 

“This immersion program is an exciting new extension of the work the state of Iowa is doing every day,” Gov. Kim Reynolds told the audience. “Every day my administration and our outstanding economic development team works to make individual connections with companies and entrepreneurs.” 

Cultivation Corridor is in the discussions process with representatives from 10 countries interested in sending startups to Cultivo, Hunt said. 

“We were targeting first the [countries] that came up and visited with us at the Bio World Congress, and they were from all parts of the world, all different regions,” Hunt said. “We did engage with the startup community in Iowa … and we visited with them on who would be on their top list.” 

Those discussions are continuing in between Borlaug Symposium events, she added. 

This story will be updated at www.innovationia.com

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