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Through collaborative leadership we supplied a pipeline of $812 million in new capital investment projects to strengthen and diversify the assets in Iowa. But beyond big number private-sector prospects we also work with the progressive small businesses, nonprofits, civic leaders, workforce, education institutions, utilities, transportation, housing, etc to maximize productivity and long-term prosperity in our evolving economic landscape.

Entrepreneurship Update: So you’ve got this great idea for starting a business…

Congratulations on your idea! Innovative thinking is celebrated in Tama County. Within our 1 hour trade zone radius, hundreds of supporting enterprises are available (for pay and for free) to help make it as easy as possible for our entrepreneurs to succeed. If you are considering basing your enterprise in Tama County, Iowa, stop by our office for a free customized entrepreneur kit to see which of these support organizations can serve you best based on your ideas and interests.

Here are ten of the topics we may explore when we visit: 

  1. Financial Resources: Almost weekly Tama County Economic Development amends and updates a local financing resources booklet chock-a-block full of grants, low-interest loans, forgivable loans, tax relief structures and leverage strategies on the market to help any company opening in Tama County have a competitive edge. These booklets are available free of charge to anyone with an idea to start a new enterprise or project, buy and existing enterprise or expand capacities.
  2. Real Estate and Infrastructure Resources: Whether you are looking to find an existing building, build onto an existing building, rehab an historic structure, or develop a greenfield site, Tama County Economic Development helps you identify what is formally and informally on the market, investigate unique solutions and navigate options and resources to meet your needs. This includes utility needs. A directory of local real estate experts is also available.
  3. Workforce and Education Resources: Tama County Economic Development, in partnership with surrounding counties, captures intelligence on the labor shed to serve workforce planning needs. Additionally Tama County Economic Development partners with educational institutions to come up with training solutions in the evolving market. This includes educational resources for you if you choose to sharpen your skills in a specific area that your business idea may require.
  4. Marketing Resources: Tama County Economic Development does not receive tax dollar support to serve the county’s marketing needs. However, by virtue of being a market intelligence and research hub, facilitating partnerships between industry clusters, pooling private sector resources, and applying for grants to serve the greater good, marketing resources may be available. Our local Chambers of Commerce may also be a great source for tapping into local social marketing opportunities.
  5. Legal and Accounting Resources: Basic info on typical business structures with their tax advantages are available in the entrepreneur kit. Directories of local legal and accounting experts are also available. Tama County Economic Development does not offer legal or accounting advice.
  6. Local and Trade Zone Market Intelligence Resources: Industry reviews are conducted regularly to assess gaps, opportunities and longer term growth trends. Primary research involves personal eSync interviews and includes sectors like manufacturing, education, financial services, food production, tourism.  Other more organic but still primary research sectors includes nonprofit and government. Tama County Economic Development also manages a large library of secondary research across various sectors and functions that affect local stakeholders.
  7. Strategic Local and Regional Suppliers/Partners/Customers: Over 2,000 entities in Tama County are already in place with local expertise. We would be happy to help connect you. Tama County is also a central hub in a vibrant three metro trade zone with a total population of 1.2 million within a one hour drive. Leveraging our partnerships with organizations outside Tama County could also support you in making inroads into these markets.
  8. International Trade Resources: U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) International Trade Programs of SBA staff and the U.S. Department of Commerce is in a single location in Chicago and provides trade promotion and export-finance assistance for small businesses.
  9. Regulatory Resources: We can help connect you with the local, regional, state and federal experts that serve the Tama County area to discuss your options in greater depth. Iowa Department of Economic Development also has an office dedicated to information on business licensing and regulations.
  10. Strategic Structuring Resources: We also keep track of technical resources and support to help you put your overall strategy together. We would be happy to help you in identifying which types of organizations could serve your time line, budget, needed skills, unique selling proposition etc best. Some of these may include: Central Iowa SCORE ChapterWomen’s Business Center of IowaRenew Rural IowaNative American Small Business AssistanceU.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)University of Northern Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

We look forward to visiting with you.

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One Comment on “Entrepreneurship Update: So you’ve got this great idea for starting a business…”

  1. Rob Williams November 8, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Great article Lindi! Another good resource to check out for those thinking about starting their own venture is Iowa’s online community for small business owners and entrepreneurs, MyEntre.Net (www.myentre.net). By becoming a member (free registration required), you are able to network with over 8,000 other entrepreneurs across the state! There’s also an area to find grants, loans, and city incentive programs (the Money Map) and some online educational resources (bimonthly interactive webinars). Keep up the good work you are doing in Tama County & thanks for sharing those resources!

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