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Director of Innovation and Acceleration

Category/Level: PSS/7

Basic Function:The candidate in this role is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction, program management, operations and the execution for startup engagement programs and support at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center for Business Innovation and Acceleration.  As the main point of contact for Innovation and Acceleration, they will play a key role toward creating the future entrepreneurial hub for Innovation and Acceleration and contribute to the success of all participating startups and early-stage businesses.


Overall Job Scope
Provide education, mentorship, and financing assistance support for startups and early-stage businesses.
Deliver programming to improve the region's culture of innovation by helping to solve opportunities and problems faced by the regional economy and industry clusters to include manufacturing.
Work collaboratively in the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and Small Business Development Center team with external stakeholders to build a business mentor network.
Provide assistance and consulting to startups and early-stage businesses in need of funding (to include private equity, debt, grants or other opportunities), sales, management and operational expertise to improve their chances of success.
Functions and Responsibilities
Liaise with the regions entrepreneurial stakeholders (e.g., SBDC, DCS, IEDA, cities, counties, and other agencies) to build an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem in North Central Iowa.
Develop and lead entrepreneurial programs in innovation and acceleration using the Lean Startup Methodologies of idea, build, and launch.
Work collaboratively with the University of Iowa and act as on-site faculty lead for Venture School (
Develop, implement, and lead long- and short-term goals for innovation and acceleration to create a 'go-to hub' for entrepreneurs within the region.
Provide leadership, recruitment, and supervision of innovation acceleration participants/clients.
Understand and work closely with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, CIRAS and VentureNet to assist with funding for start-up businesses.
Other responsibilities
Align activities and resources to foster the Entrepreneurship and Innovation strategies of Goal 3 in the Vision North Iowa Plan (
Perform in a manner which strengthens the coordination and cooperation of all organizational components of the College, including opportunities for student recruitment.
NIACC Core Principles: All employees are expected to adhere to all NIACC policies and procedures. NIACC administration, faculty, and staff value a positive working environment and an environment of mutual respect, therefore, all employees are to maintain a positive attitude and respect for others when working with all NIACC departments, employees, students, partners, and the public.

Qualifications:  BA degree required; MBA or MA preferred.
5 years experience in successful business startup and/or ownership.  Knowledge of entrepreneurship and business management or related experience.  Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively as an effective leader.  Must be able to provide for some of the direct needs of a company; consulting in financing, manufacturing, marketing, sales management, operations or financial, etc.  Must demonstrate strong communication skills, initiative, public presentation skills.