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The Week in Social 10/12-10/16

Everywhere you look, Iowans are uniting like never before. While times may be tough right now, we’re seeing it won’t stop the great people in the state from supporting one another. Many have taken to social media to help those in their communities, share helpful resources or to simply highlight something positive to bring joy to others. The Week in Social will round up the best of #IowansUnite and share these uplifting stories.

When COVID-19 hit, four Iowa economic development organizations in Johnson County quickly sprung into action. The four organizations had one goal in mind — help their local businesses make it through the pandemic.

Three of the four organizations are women led; Nancy Bird serves as executive director of the Iowa City Downtown District, Kim Casko is president and CEO of Iowa City Area Business Partnership (previously the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce), Kate Moreland is president and CEO of the Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD) and Josh Schamberger finishes the group as the president of Think Iowa City.

Though the organizations are familiar with each other and have met regularly for the past decade to share information about economic and community issues, the pandemic created a new, singular focus to help businesses survive. The eastern Iowa group started shop local initiatives, provided grants to support minority-owned small businesses, started a website to display key resources and launched a joint newsletter providing clear communications to their stakeholders.

“We just prioritized,” Casko said. “All of our orgs realized that navigating the pandemic and getting our business community real-time information, that became the number one priority.”

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is set to return to downtown Des Moines in 2023. Last Wednesday, the NCAA announced the first and second rounds of the tournament will be played in Wells Fargo Arena, marking the third time the arena has held March Madness games.

“The NCAA has told us they like our location, our airport and the convenience of getting in and out,’” Catch Des Moines CEP Greg Edwards said in an interview with the Des Moines Register last January. “They like the fact we’ve hosted this two different times and we know what we’re doing,” he said.

The Quad Cities spans across Iowa and Illinois, saddled right next to the Mississippi River. Davenport and Bettendorf are located in Iowa, while Rock Island, Moline and East Moline make up the Illinois side. The bustling brewery scene, riverboat casinos, river cruises and more have caught the attention of U.S. News, as they were ranked as one of the Best Places to Live in America. Ever affordable, the Quad Cities also ranked as the sixth cheapest place to live. The list provides things to do (if you’re considering visiting), as well as cost of living (if you’re considering a move).

Clay and Milk, a publication devoted to covering Iowa’s startup, tech and entrepreneurial communities, announced the Startup Iowa Awards, which will celebrate the organizations and people keeping the Iowa startup community thriving. Various awards include Iowa Startup of the Year, Investor of the Year, Accelerator of the Year, Entrepreneurial Support Organization of the Year and Student Entrepreneur of the Year. Those wanting to submit nominations can do so until Friday, December 15. The top five nominees in each category will be recognized in early January and the winners will be announced on Monday, January 18. Descriptions of the awards and the nomination page can be found here.

Published October 19, 2020

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