For more information, contact:
Jacque Matsen, Iowa Economic Development Authority
August 29, 2018 (Waterloo) – The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) hosted the Main Street Iowa Open 4 Business state contest in Waterloo last night. The event was held in conjunction with the Iowa Downtown Conference and showcased the best of the small business community that are the heart of Iowa’s small towns. Over 20 businesses entered the competition earlier this year and competed through video and Skype interviews for a chance to advance to the state competition.
IEDA Director Debi Durham served as the emcee for the event as the following four semi-finalists made their business pitch to a panel of judges before a live audience:
- Anne Greenwalt – Carver’s Ridge, Corning
- Tommie Ouverson – Fuel Art & Espresso, Mount Vernon
- Tom & Lori Schuch – Get Branded 360, Le Mars
- Anna Blanchette – Sugar Me, Marion
The panel of judges included:
- Rand Fisher, Iowa Area Development Group
- Vada Grantham, Des Moines Area Community College
- Sandy Ehrig, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
- Lisa Shimkat, Iowa Small Business Development Center
2018 Iowa Open 4 Business Winners
- First place: $20,000 – Carver’s Ridge
- First runner up: $10,000 – Fuel Art & Espresso
- Second runner-up: $5,000 – Get Branded 360
- Second runner-up: $5,000 – Sugar Me
In addition, semi-finalists named during the first round in June were each awarded $8,000.
This is the fourth year of the Open 4 Business contest and it is open to businesses located in any of the 54 Main Street Iowa districts. The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs and will assist with expansion projects for each of the winning businesses. CENEX Corporation joined as a sponsor of the 2018 contest, providing give-aways and an “after party” concert at the River Loop Amphitheater featuring hometown country music star Jay Allen.
“Main Street Open 4 Business enables entrepreneurs in downtown districts to take an in depth look at their current business operations and think big about business expansion opportunities,” said Michael Wagler, Main Street Iowa State Coordinator. “The innovation, hard work and leadership these businesses demonstrate reinforces each local Main Street’s efforts to enhance their local commercial districts.”
The contest is funded via the Challenge Grant program, an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $7 million in state and federal funds have leveraged over $37 million in private reinvestment in 120 projects in 43 Main Street Iowa commercial districts.
For more information about the Main Street Iowa Open 4 Business grant program, contact Robin Bostrom, Business Specialist, Main Street Iowa, at 515.348.6176 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For photos of the local businesses that competed, please contact the local Main Street office.