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Our First Quarter of 2018

Updates on NewBoCo’s work in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Education.

On April 13 NewBoCo launched Intrapreneur Academy. Photo by Ben Kaplan.

Once again, Iowa was at the bottom of Wallethub’s yearly study on the most innovative states. Last year, we were 44th, and now in 2018, we’ve slipped to 46th.

Wallethub looked at two different areas to determine the most and least innovative states: Human Capital and Innovation Environment. “Human Capital” measured factors relating to STEM education and jobs and “Innovation Environment” measured everything from average internet speed to research spending to job growth and more. Iowa scored abysmally in both categories.

Now, here at NewBoCo, we’re relentless Iowa cheerleaders. And we have a lot to be proud of! After all, U.S. News & World Report just named Iowa the best state in America! When it comes to innovation and our future, however, we have a lot of work to do. Automation, big data, and new software practices are transforming the way our economy works, and if we don’t don’t change how we work, Iowa will be left behind.

NewBoCo was founded by a group of people who believed that Iowa could do more and be more. We believe that in order for Iowa to remain the best state to live, we must become a leader in innovation. That’s why we take a holistic approach and work to improve both Iowa’s “human capital” and our “innovation environment.” And, with the help of our numerous partners and volunteers, we’re making a difference. We won’t change our state’s innovation ranking overnight, but in the first quarter of 2018 alone, we’re making great progress.

NewBoCo’s First Quarter Updates

ISA Spring Cohort 2018 team Kho Labs speaks to the press during Orientation Week. Photo by Jessalyn Holdcraft.

Highlights: we launched Intraprenuer Academy, we’re bringing back Summer Challenge STEM Camps, our Code.Org Professional Learning Partnership brought Computer Science Education to thousands of students, and we invested in new startups.


A member of the inaugural Intrapreneur Academy cohort flips through an Academy workbook. Photo by Ben Kaplan.
  • We launched Intrapreneur Academy — a year-long program where organizations can send a cross functional team to go through in-depth training on all four competencies of innovative organizations.Our five year plan called for 20 people go through Intrapreneur Academy each year as a major goal, and we’ve blown past that already! Our first cohort included teams from government, large nonprofits and corporations. Due to the amount of interest in the program, we’ll launch a second cohort in October. If you think your company could benefit from this year-long, in-depth training program, please contact our Director of Innovation, Mandy Webber, at soon. Spots are filling up quickly!
  • Our Agile Coach, Nate Adams, had a talk accepted for the Agile2018 conference in San Diego this summer. Our Agile services have been primarily focused on private workshops and consulting this year, but you can get an introduction to agile at our May 8–9th workshop, or contact our Agile team directly at to explore how Agile could help your organization.


Vault members. NewBoCo Staff, and kids compete in a MarioKart tournament at the Vault Coworking & Collaboration Space. Photo by Jessalyn Holdcraft.
  • This our fifth year directly investing in Iowa’s entrepreneurial community through the Iowa Startup Accelerator. 2018’s Spring Batch accepted four startups into the program, including the pilot team for our Social Good Accelerator program! Our next batch begins on September 10th, but it’s never too early to submit your application!
  • The Vault, Cedar Rapids’ original coworking community, has a fresh new layout and new community building programming. Become a member of the Vault Community today and join in the fun!


Iowa teachers learn how to teach Computer Science during a Code.Org workshop at Iowa State University. Photo by Ben Kaplan.
  • Early in the year, we hosted Iowa’s Future City competition. NewBoCo is the statewide coordinator for Future City, one of the nation’s leading engineering education programs for middle school students. Over 80 teams of students from across the state presented their ideas for what an “aging-friendly” city would look like. The state championship went to Sofia, a team from Decorah, who won a trip to the National Competition in D.C.!
  • In the first year of our Professional Learning Program we trained 32 current teachers on how to teach computer science. Because of these teachers, more than 1,700 students took a computer science class in their school in the 2017–2018 school year! We’re continuing this program in the summer with support from the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, and we plan to double the number of teachers trained.
  • We’re also bringing back our popular Summer Challenge STEM Camps with a larger focus on computer science to help students stay engaged with STEM over summer vacation. We have courses for students in grades 2–10 on everything from Coding FUNdamentals to Video Production to Mythbusting.
  • DeltaV Code School was named a finalist for “Best User of Technology” for the Technology Association of Iowa’s Prometheus awards! There’s still time to register for DeltaV’s full program. In just 20 weeks, you could join our graduates as a full stack Javascript developer making over $58K!

Our focuses on education, entrepreneurship, and innovation will all come together soon at EntreFEST, our two-day conference celebrating the Midwest’s entrepreneurial and innovation community. Earlier this year, we announced our speaker list, including keynote speaker Scott Belsky, Adobe’s Chief Product Officer and founder of Behance. EntreFEST has something for everyone — from entrepreneur to intrapreneur to investor to community leaders — and we don’t want you to miss out. Ticket prices are going up soon, so don’t wait any longer! Contact our Events Director, Jill Wilkins, for information on group and student rates at

In short, we’ve been busy! We plan to keep pushing the envelope for Iowa next quarter, and we want you to be a part of our journey. You can join us each Friday at 3:00 PM for a tour of our organization, followed by the ever-popular Whiskey Friday. We’re also always looking for mentors, volunteers, and donations to make NewBoCo’s programs successful. Remember, NewBoCo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so if you’re interested in donating your time or money to support tech education, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Iowa, please email or visit

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