Investing in Rural America – Workshop Puts Rural Entrepreneurs on the Radar of Private Capital Investors – AUDIO

There’s a workshop coming up on Thursday in Iowa that aims to spur investments in rural America.
Iowa’s agriculture-related businesses will have the opportunity to pitch investors from all over the country about why their business models are investment ready and worthy at The Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI)-Iowa State University Rural Investment workshop on Thursday at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, in Des Moines, Iowa. The ‘pitchfest’ will begin around 1:30 p.m.
Each of these ‘investment-hungry’ Iowa entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their capital needs, while fielding questions from a ‘Shark Tank’ style panel of interested investors. One of the goals for the workshop and ROI is to help put rural businesses on the radar of investors who might be unfamiliar with the business landscape in rural states.
The Rural Opportunity Initiative originated with a former senior adviser to the Obama administration’s United States Department of Agriculture, Matt McKenna.
Once the Obama administration ended, McKenna and former USDA Rural Business Administrator Sam Rikkers asked Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business to provide a new home for the project. ROI is now part of Georgetown’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI), whose mission is to help businesses be forces for good by creating social, economic and environmental impact on issues that will be solved by private, public and nonprofit leaders working across these sectors.
While this first workshop is in Iowa, McKenna says the goal is to expand to other land grant universities to promote the value of rural America and invest in its people, business and infrastructure.
Listen to our visit — >Iowa Investor Workshop Matt McKenna
The Iowa businesses will also have the opportunity to hear from the investors on what defines a good investment, and what makes a business ripe for investing. The invited businesses were identified by partner economic development institutions, including ISU Extension, Venture Net Iowa, Iowa EDA, USDA Rural Development Iowa and Iowa Innovation Corporation, as established businesses with unique growth potential.
In addition to Iowa State University, ROI is also in partnership with other land grant schools – Mississippi State University and Purdue University, and there are future plans to hold similar workshops in these locations.