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Resources for Women, Minority, Veteran, and Disabled Owned Businesses

Woman_BusinessDiversity in ownership of Iowa companies helps make our economy stronger. There are multiple statewide programs that support women, veterans, minority, and disabled business owners by providing highly specialized services and financing options to help ensure business success. The Targeted Small Business (TSB) Program offered through the Iowa Economic Development Authority, can provide financial and other benefits to certified businesses owned and operated by women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and service disabled-veterans, including:

  • Access to low-interest loans of up to $50,000, plus free business counseling
  • Pre-access to all state agencies’ buying needs before available to general public
  • Opportunity to sell up to $10,000 of goods and services to state agencies without going through a competitive bidding process
  • Listing in the TSB online directory used by public and private sector organizations
  • Differentiate your business from competitors

To become a certified Targeted Small Business, you’ll need to complete the TSB application through the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals.

The Iowa Center for Economic Success manages the TSB loan program, and can provide assistance with the application process. They offer business education and individual business support for Iowa businesses and specialize in helping businesses owned by women and minorities. The Iowa Center is also home to the state’s only Women’s Business Center, a program funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Iowa Self-Employment Program (ISE)
is designed for clients of Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) or the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB), who aspire to become self-employed entrepreneurs. Through the ISE, entrepreneurs may receive technical and/or financial assistance to start, expand or acquire a business. ISE offers orientations, business consultation, counseling services and opportunities to collaborate with other professionals.

The Small Business Linked Investments for Tomorrow (LIFT) Program is offered through the Treasurer of the State of Iowa, and provides capital for Iowa small businesses. Applications are made through a local financial institution to the treasurer’s office and if approved, the treasurer of state purchases a certificate of deposit (CD) from the lender, who then makes the loan to the borrowing business. Of the total amount available for lending, one-half of the moneys invested will be available for qualifying small businesses which are 51 percent or more owned, operated, and actively managed by women, minorities or persons with disabilities.

Boots to Business is a 3-part entrepreneurial education and training program offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The program provides assistance to transitioning Service members who are exploring business ownership or other self-employment opportunities. Not sure entrepreneurship is right for you? The two-day Reboot program provides an overview of business ownership for transitioning Service members, and is instructed by SBA staff with local partners, the Iowa Small Business Development Centers and SCORE offices. Other resources offered through the SBA include:

Veterans in Agriculture offers programs and resources to veterans interested in starting a farming operation in Iowa

Additional Resources: