Small businesses form the backbone of Iowa’s economy, which is why we’re excited to have “boots on the ground” in Council Bluffs and Sioux City as part of the University of Iowa’s UI Partners initiative.
UI Partners, part of the UI Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED), provides IT/computer expertise and support to small businesses across the state.
The first UI Partners office opened in Iowa City last year, and this January we opened additional offices at Iowa Western Community College (where Pat Dougherty is located) and Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City (where Craig Engelke is based).
We appreciate the opportunity to represent the University of Iowa in this undertaking, and we’re happy to be a resource for small business owners in the Council Bluffs and Sioux City areas.
Our mission came about because OVPR&ED Vice President Dan Reed toured the state asking how the university could help small businesses. The resounding response was that they need help keeping up with technology. Thus was born UIPartners.
When Pat introduces himself to people in Council Bluffs, he starts by saying “I’m with a start-up. It’s called the University of Iowa.”
That usually raises a few eyebrows. The university already has long and rich ties to Council Bluffs and Sioux City, from the students currently enrolled at Iowa, to alumni who live and work here, to the many doctors, dentists, educators, pharmacists and other professionals with Iowa degrees serving these communities.
But in a way we are like a startup, especially in the area of direct small business support. So like a new small business, our No. 1 job right now is to get to know the communities and potential clients, build friendships and trust, and lay the groundwork for partnerships so we can help small businesses not just succeed, but thrive.
We’re especially excited about the involvement of local students in our UI Partners activities. As we grow our business, we will add students from Iowa Western in Council Bluffs and Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City. The students will have a chance to assist small businesses while learning valuable, hands-on technical and consulting skills that will serve them well when they graduate and enter the workforce.
So please stop by and say hi, learn more, and find out how we can help your small businesses succeed. You can learn more about UI Partners at http://uipartners.uiowa.edu/.
Pat Dougherty may be reached at Iowa Western at 712-256-6538 (office) or 402-681-1949 (cell), or Jamesemail@example.com.
Craig Engelke may be reached at Western Iowa Technical at 712-274-8733 ext. 1360 (office), or 712-229-1246 (cell), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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