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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: What could be more valuable than free money?

Often when there is a knock on the Economic Development Office door, (prospective) business owners are checking in to see if there is (new) free or cheap money on the market to address a goal they have identified. And often we do have info on unique financing resources beyond traditional lending. But sometimes an even more important question may be: “How can a business be more effective in its strategic approach?”

Because business development in Tama County comes from so many different types of owners, and many different types of industries, one type of strategic resource may not fit all. Here are ten of our market’s most popular free and/or low-cost general resources to help business owners put together/revamp their business plan as the market evolves:

  • Small Business Association (SBA): is a federal program. In addition to loan guarantee programs, SBA provides free online training, business plan templates. Consulting is specialized for veterans, women and minorities. This program is especially good for self-directed learners comfortable with technology, and special population groups.
  • Service Corps of Retired Executive Consultations (SCORE): is connected to the Small Business Association and provides personalized counseling and training. This program is especially good for business owners interested in focusing in-depth on a specific issue with one-on-one attention from an expert. Comfort with technology will often be necessary.
  • Iowa Small Business Development Centers (SBDC): is a State program to provide services such as development of business plans, manufacturing assistance, financial packaging assistance, contracting assistance, and international trade assistance.  Special emphasis areas include e-commerce, technology transfer, regulatory compliance, research and development, Defense Economic Transition Assistance, disaster recovery assistance, and market research. This resource is ideal for business owners who prefer to work in-person with consultants. Service offering includes one-on-one consulting as well as classroom style workshops, events and seminars. There are five SBDC’s within a 1 hour drive of Tama County.
  • Business License Information Center (BLIC): is a State program providing a comprehensive clearinghouse of Iowa licences. The online search engine enables you to search by licenses, key words, business fact sheets, forms, and wizard. Depending on where you are at in the business life cycle, if it’s planning your business, registering, keeping up to date on compliance requirements or finding resources and seeking to grow your business, assistance is tailored to your needs.
  • Renew Rural Iowa: is an Iowa Farm Bureau program to help business leaders gain access to critical mentoring, a network of local providers, and funding possibilities that can help grow or expand a business. This program is ideal for (new) business owners who prefer to dedicate one day and get information from a wide variety of experts in a lecture setup. A longer-term mentoring program  is also available.
  • Entrepreneurial Development Center, Inc.: is a state program designed to propel Iowa’s entrepreneurial efforts into successful businesses with the support of seasoned entrepreneurs.
  • Iowa Valley Community College District Hawkeye Community College District: offer training resources customized to local market needs.
  • Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS): is the industrial extension arm of Iowa State University, offering amongst other resources government procurement support as well as efficiency development in manufacturing.
  • Target Industry Specific Resources: Various industries furthermore have specialized resources. Please touch base if we can help connect you.

Tama County Economic Development Commission does not duplicate support services that are already available, but rather continually researches and matches evolving external resources to evolving internal needs through strategic partnerships and custom designed programs like the Tama County Entrepreneur Kit. The Commission also relies on a robust networks of leaders like the Tama County Entrepreneur Trust to find solutions for barriers preventing our entrepreneurship culture from being the strongest it could be.


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