“I guess it’s my turn to take the hot seat,” commented Mike Colwell, Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives for the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “It could get out of control and involve the Fifth Amendment,” added Tej Dhawan with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
Whatever the case, it is bound to be informative and entertaining when Mike Colwell takes his turn in the chair at the October edition of Square One DSM’s Start-Up Stories. Colwell, whose Partnership title, one of many, reflects well his long standing role in the Des Moines start-up community has agreed to, at least for a time, relinquish the monthly role of questioner and himself answer questions regarding his experiences and observations in the midst of the explosive growth of the Des Moines entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“We hope to provoke a sort of state of the ecosystem discussion,” said Dhawan, whose entrepreneurial credentials ramble on as long as Colwell’s and include such past titles as President of Advanced Technologies Group, Principal of Startup City Des Moines and Interim Director of the Global Insurance Accelerator.
Colwell, whose story was recently told in the Des Moines Business Record, arrived in Des Moines after an already long and successful career in the growing field of mobile technology. A native of Cedar Falls and drawn back to Iowa, Colwell was seeking his next project when cajoled by the Partnership to assume the leadership of an experiment they were calling the Business Innovation Zone, meant to be a clearing house of assistance for start-up companies with high growth potential and the precursor to Square One DSM which takes that concept to another level.
The rest as they might say is history. Colwell has been present for, if not instrumental in, the emergence of such entrepreneurial drivers as Startup City Des Moines, One Million Cups, dmStartupDrinks, the Global Insurance Accelerator and has served as mentor and advisor to countless start-ups around the metro and the state including but far from limited to Agren, Dwolla, VolunteerLocal and a nearly endless parade of guests to the long running Start-Up Stories events.
Understanding that the ecosystem requires nutrient to grow, Colwell along with Dhawan have been instrumental in creating Plains Angels, a group of Iowa-based angel investors assisting early stage growth companies through investment and advice. Dhawan in particular has been working to expand cooperation with other Midwestern investment groups to extend the pitch reach of local entrepreneurs.
“Mike and Tej both have been a catalyst for growth in the Greater Des Moines entrepreneurial community,” observed Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “Very little goes on that escapes their notice or shows no sign of their input, so this should be a most worthwhile conversation to witness.”
Combined with questions from the audience including the ever-present sprinkling of Des Moines entrepreneurial stalwarts that frequent the monthly networking luncheon, the October Start-Up Stories should provide a concise and up to the minute assessment of the past present and future of the growing Central Iowa entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Entrepreneurs, investors and interested on-lookers should make plans to attend.
$15 admission fee (includes lunch) or free (if you don’t want lunch).
Networking and Lunch 11:30 a.m. / Presentation starts at noon
October 21, 2015 / Ruan II, 601 Locust / Conference Room 200
Purchase your tickets/make reservations – https://www.desmoinesmetro.com/en/calendar/october_startup_stories_event/
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