Entrepreneurs, creatives and investors can now meet up every week in Newton to amplify, accelerate and invest in each other’s ideas.
Idea Spin’s Morning Networking begins at 9 a.m. every Tuesday at Muse Wine Bar, 109 N. Second Ave. E., in downtown Newton. The organization launched its first networking event Oct. 5 with special guest speaker David Tominsky, chief relationship officer of New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative.
Otherwise known as NewBoCo, the nonprofit’s mission is to “accelerate world-changing ideas from Iowa” by creating impactful startup businesses through its Iowa Startup Accelerator program, among other things. Tominsky stressed the importance of engaging networking meet-ups for startup businesses.
“We created an event called Whiskey Friday, which just sounds fun to people,” Tominsky said. “… You’d celebrate the wins or drink away the losses, whatever the case may be. But, again, it’s an opportunity for the community to come together with no agenda. It’s just an opportunity for us to gather.”
Whether it is a one-on-one discussion or a group conversation, networking meet-ups can be as beneficial to those attending as they are to the hosts, which in Idea Spin’s case would be the Newton community and Muse. Tominsky also suggested these events can tend to grow organically.
Tanya Michener, associate director of Newton Development Corporation, hopes so, anyway. The decision to form a regularly scheduled morning networking meet-up derived from her investigating business incubation and entrepreneurship. Michener reached out to coworking organizations for advice.
“And also people in our community. And the thing that kept coming up was making something that was a consistent meeting (place) to kind of find out what our entrepreneurs want to know,” she said. “Investors are also part of it. We have lots of people that would like to invest in local but don’t necessarily know who.”
By gathering creatives and investors in the same place, Michener said the meet-ups could pave the way for a possible business incubator.
Opportunities for entrepreneurship are plentiful in Newton. Engage Coworking provides rented office space or a workspace in Legacy Plaza; while GlassHouse, which opened in July in downtown Newton, acts as a small business incubator specializing in providing temporary storefront space to entrepreneurs.
“Newton, as a whole, has changed so much in the past five years. This is the natural progression,” Michener said. “I think COVID helped that. We’ve always had ideas and now we just need a more concerted effort from our city leadership, county leadership to help create this current.”
Michener wants the meet-ups to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the community. Agencies like the Small Business Administration provide some assistance for startups but Michener said oftentimes they feel siloed. The local synergy with Main Street and economic development groups are just as pivotal.
“There’s been momentum,” Michener said.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or firstname.lastname@example.org