Three of the state’s insurance companies have put up nearly nine-million dollars as startup capital for seven Iowa business ventures. The money’s part of a deal the insurance industry made with state policymakers, promising more venture capital investment if the state cut the premium tax in half. J. Barry Griswell, the chairman, president and C-E-O of Principal Financial, is also president of the Federation of Iowa Insurers. Iowa’s insurance industry promises to invest 60-MILLION dollars in high-risk ventures over the next five years. The seven companies that received the investments are mostly high-tech. Griswell says it’s quite a diverse group, with an ethanol plant, a rural Internet provider and high-tech manufacturing. He says those are the kinds of new businesses Iowa needs. Griswell says they’re diverse industries that lead Iowa out of the agriculture and heavy-manufacturing era. The following companies received the investments: Edge Technology Corporation in Ames which converts ideas at Iowa State University into products and its affiliate, Leading Edge Measurement Systems, which develops tools to measure the flow from oil wells; Enterprise Corporation International which creates digital images for home and business users; Lighthouse Communications in Des Moines which has a rural Internet access project; Palisade Systems of Ames which offers Internet security and productivity products; The Quad County Corn Processors of Galva, which produces ethanol and corn syrup; and tecTERRA, a state-created investment fund for value-added processing and biotech companies.
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