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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
OIE Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Iowa Foundation For Microenterprise And Community Vitality


Ames, IA

Project Name

Iowa Rural Equity Project


Seed Fund Support

Award Amount

Federal Share

Non-Federal Share



The Iowa Rural Equity Project (IREP) is designed to create three new sources of equity capital targeted to support strategic rural ventures with potential to create jobs in multiple rural communities and rural areas. IREP assembles the relevant professional equity management experience, legal expertise, staff capacity, and associated industry networks for attracting capital and managing portfolios of emerging companies with innovations from multiple accelerator programs and business development networks that focus on ventures with the potential to enhance rural economic development. Focusing on agricultural and energy technologies, IREP will create three equity fund initiatives, including a Community Capital Network with a $4 million equity fund, a Rural Angel Investor Network with $20 million equity investment capacity, and a Charitable Equity Endowment of $6 million that authorizes up to $3 million in Program Related Investments for Strategic Rural Ventures. When fully deployed, the combined $30 million in capital capacity is expected to create or retain 300 direct jobs with average wages above rural county medians. More important economic outcomes are related to the new industries created by IREP and future opportunities for rural economic growth in rural communities as new industries expand and grow in multiple rural communities.