From the Desk of Director Durham – 6/25/15

From the Desk of Director Durham – 6/25/15

Listen to this month’s “From the Desk” podcast.

Last month, I was privileged to help honor several IASourceLink Resource Partners at the annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration.  Iowa is fortunate to be home to 51 designated Main Street communities – more than any other state in the nation.  These communities are located in every corner of the state and range widely in population.

Iowa Main Street organizations provide a variety of services to the businesses within their communities, as well as positively impacting the overall community economy.  Since its inception in 1985, Main Street Iowa has tracked over $1.4 billion in private investment in the purchase, construction and rehabilitation of property in participating communities.  Healthy, historic commercial districts are a key deciding factor for industrial and business recruitment, and Main Street organizations bring jobs, investment and new businesses to our Iowa downtowns.

Each year the awards event recognizes local Main Street projects and activities accomplished throughout the year.  In this year’s competitive process, nominations were submitted for 107 projects or activities and 30 of those received awards or nominations.  Of special note, Main Street Mount Pleasant was awarded the Signature Project of the Year for their Union Block Building revitalization project, which not only saved a landmark structure on Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered List, but also served as a catalyst for additional business development initiatives downtown.  Congratulations to all of our IASourceLink Main Street Resource Partners for the work you do to help your Iowa communities thrive!

Continuing on a celebratory note, this year’s EntreFEST conference was again a great success, drawing hundreds of entrepreneurs and business resource providers together for three days of innovation, inspiration and fun in Iowa City.  Included in the 100-plus presentations were many sessions geared specifically for community champions such as you, to arm you with new information to help your businesses succeed.   If you couldn’t make it this year, start making plans for 2016!  Early bird registration has already opened up on the EntreFEST website.

And lastly, coming up on July 15 IASourceLink Resource Partners, the Iowa Innovation Corporation and Iowa Energy Center, team up with Iowa State University and the University of Iowa Office of Research and Economic Development to host the only Iowa stop of the SBIR National Road Tour.  This free event in Iowa City will be filled with activities for innovators and entrepreneurs interested in pursuing SBIR/STTR funding, and might be a great fit for select businesses in your region. You can find more information on the IASourceLink Calendar of Events.

Next week as we celebrate Independence Day, I encourage you to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a country where the American dream can still be achieved.  Our nation is built on the foundation of small business.  These businesses succeed through hard work and the expertise provided by you, our Resource Partners.  Thank you again, for your valued efforts, and have a wonderful holiday weekend!

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