Hertz Associates Ltd. and Hertz Farm Management (Hertz) have joined forces with the Ag Startup Engine (ASE) at the Iowa State University (ISU) Research Park to bring education, mentoring, and financing resources to young Iowa entrepreneurs and start-ups focused on agriculture technologies.
The Ag Startup Engine effort was launched two years ago to help address two fundamental gaps that prevent agricultural startups and entrepreneurs from being more successful in Iowa: early seed stage investment and organized mentorship from successful Iowan and Midwestern entrepreneurs.
“The Iowa State Ag Engine Startup fosters an excellent opportunity to connect agribusiness, entrepreneurs, and resources to create value for agriculture and make a difference,” said Randy Hertz, CEO of Hertz Farm Management. “We are pleased to be part of the initiative.”
This announcement comes only one month after Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program, a statewide economic development initiative, joined the Ag Startup Engine effort.
Hertz joins the growing member base of Renew Rural Iowa, Next Level Ventures, Summit Agricultural Group, Ag Leader Technologies, Ag Ventures Alliance, and Peoples Company.
“Hertz Farm Management is a great example of an entrepreneurial agricultural business,” said Kevin Kimle, director of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative. “Hertz is supportive of agricultural entrepreneurs across the industry, so its investment in the Ag Startup Engine is a natural extension of that support.”
The Ag Startup Engine aims to provide agricultural entrepreneurs a structured means of moving from a start-up concept to a seed-ready business. Working in partnership with ISU’s Startup Factory Accelerator, the program is implementing an infrastructure for mentoring, rapid prototyping, product development, financing, and customer acquisition.
“I’ve been extremely pleased with the growing excitement around financing and mentoring support from each of our partners, as it brings so much to our entrepreneurs in their early days,” said Joel Harris, co-director of the Ag Startup Engine. “Each member brings something new to the table and brings a level of sophistication to our portfolio companies, which in turn sets the stage for the Ag Startup Engine to be truly successful.”
The ASE aims to continue growing its members and companies in the coming months.