Iowa Business Concierge Earns International Economic Development Award

Iowa Business Concierge Earns International Economic Development Award

The Regional Business Center, University of Northern Iowa received a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for its 2014 project in the category of Entrepreneurship for communities with populations of greater than 500,000 from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Monday, October 20, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held October 19-22, in Fort Worth, Texas.

“”Economic development efforts have long been a keystone in the quest to bolster the economy and improve quality of life in every locality across the country,”” said Bill Sproull, IEDC chair. “”As the nation continues to tackle challenges in the midst of global uncertainty, these efforts have taken on an even greater significance. With this award, we laud trendsetting organizations like Regional Business Center, University of Northern Iowa for leading the charge.””

The Business Concierge program was created to provide on-call/on-line business intelligence to startups and small businesses in Iowa. The team assembled in-depth data resources and trained business concierges to offer custom business intelligence to entrepreneurs and then, connect them with service providers for further assistance.

The Business Concierge is further promoted by economic development organization partners who incorporate an interactive module into their websites, where it is offered as a no cost local resource for small businesses. The Business Concierge is made available to entrepreneurs through IASourceLink, in partnership with Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). IASourceLink is where business begins in Iowa, providing a statewide portal connecting startups and small businesses with resources across the state. Since its inception there have been 825 service requests fulfilled resulting in over 30 new business starts and 20 newly added products.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

About the International Economic Development Council- The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,400 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.

About Regional Business Center, University of Northern Iowa- The University of Northern Iowa’s Regional Business Center serves as a leader in innovative programming assisting entrepreneurs and small business owners statewide. Known for it’s nationally recognized award winning innovative programs, the UNI Regional Business Center is positioned as a preeminent “entrepreneurial support” resource throughout the State of Iowa.

Other Regional Business Center programs include:

  • Advance Iowa, is an initiative that targets Iowa’s second-stage companies that have grown past the startup stage but have not yet reached maturity and applies advanced research-based growth strategies to accelerate their expansion activities.
  • EntreFEST is Iowa’s most ambitious multi-track educational conference for entrepreneurs and innovators and is a collaborative effort between public and private partners all with the common vision of enhancing entrepreneurship throughout the State of Iowa.
  • Dream Big Grow Here is an award-winning online business grant contest for Iowans to launch new ventures or expand their current firms. Each year Iowa entrepreneurs compete to win business expansion grants and make connections that help further their success.
  • The UNI Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program of the SBA and one of 15 regional centers in Iowa, is dedicated to providing quality technical assistance and training to area business owners.
  • The Iowa Small Business Survey is an annual survey of Iowa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to identify usage of public sector resource providers, gauge business growth or decline, and provide Iowa’s small business stakeholders with critical information to help move the state’s economy forward.
  • The Innovation Incubator features 13 office suites & offers campus and community participants a culture to foster and assistance to grow their businesses.

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