Iowa University Resources for Business Assistance
All three regent universities in Iowa- University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa, and Iowa State University- have robust offerings to Iowa's startup and existing business community. With hundreds of programs and centers, the best way to find what program that might be the best fit is to reach out to the Iowa Business Concierge
or search in the Resource Navigator
Included here is an overview of the highest level division that specializes in working with the public on startup or business expansion endeavors.
Working with business and industry is a tradition deeply rooted in Iowa State University's role as a land-grant institution.
Every day for over 150 years, we have put our research expertise, specialized laboratories, and technical strengths to work for companies like yours. And today, what we learn from you about the challenges of the global marketplace informs our research and the courses we teach.
Whether you want to solve a technical problem, develop a technology or product, commercialize a technology, or obtain business assistance, our Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR)
connects you to the appropriate world-class experts and resources in our research and economic development enterprises.
University of Northern Iowa
In 1985, the University of Northern Iowa began a new collaboration. It was recognized that businesses across the state were in need of knowledgeable assistance in starting, maintaining and growing their business. UNI’s faculty and professional staff already had the knowledge and expertise, but simply needed an avenue to get to the businesses. With this basis in mind, business development programs were developed with a mission to provide outreach across Iowa.
Beyond the initial development, Governor Branstad (1st and 2nd terms) requested each of the Iowa public universities assume a broader role in supporting economic development in Iowa. Over the next decade, UNI leadership and outreach programs devoted considerable time to better understanding local level economic development needs across the state. The outcome resulted in the development of programs addressing specific needs such as community and economic development, entrepreneurship and the environment.
It was not until 2000 that Business and Community Services
as a division of the College of Business Administration as it is known today was created. The CBA dean at the time, Bill Greer, suggested an integrated approach for the outreach programs under a single guiding entity. Directors of the eight programs met and discussed collaboration, communication, grants and mutual goals. The directors agreed with Greer and it was decided that the most effective way to disseminate the variety of services provided by these programs was to develop the single entity to house all the programs under one umbrella.
As BCS matured, outreach programs in other UNI colleges joined in collectively reporting outcomes and seeking collaborative projects while remaining in their respective college. Then in the mid 2000’s, the Board of Regents used BCS as a model in suggesting Iowa’s public universities create a single point of contact for outreach; a place for businesses, citizens and entrepreneurs to contact. This served as a great accolade to BCS that the efforts to provide a comprehensive outreach program could serve as a model for other universities.
Currently, 15 programs are represented by BCS and technical assistance is delivered at the door of clients in all 99 Iowa counties. BCS works with businesses, entrepreneurs, communities and governments providing a wide array of services from marketing research and business incubation, to environmental compliance assistance and economic development. The BCS brand continues to grow to cater to the needs of Iowa businesses providing unsurpassed expertise and knowledge.
The Iowa Centers for Enterprise
fosters economic development within the state and beyond, connecting you with UI resources and opening doors to innovation, expertise, and entrepreneurship.
- Need access to technology or business expertise? We can connect you.
- Have intellectual property questions or want to collaborate with UI faculty? We can help.
- Seeking space or technical support for a start-up, or help growing an existing business? We can guide you.
- Want to expand your links to UI colleges or departments? We can assist.
We’re the first stop for businesses, faculty and staff, and students looking to develop ideas into commercial opportunities.