Hello, this is Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. We recently hit an exciting milestone anniversary – IASourceLink has turned five! When the program was first launched late in 2012, we could only anticipate what this small business resource might provide to business owners, resource providers and aspiring entrepreneurs. Until that time, there had been no Iowa-centric place to find information on starting and growing a business. Would-be entrepreneurs turned to search engines for answers relying on the information they found whether it was accurate and credible or not.
In addition to the mis-communication often found through a general web search, there was also no place entrepreneurs could go to tap into the hundreds of small business experts located across the state. You, our very important Resource Partners who bring technical and financial assistance, mentoring, encouragement and support to Iowa’s businesses needed to be more accessible. IASourceLink, through the online Resource Navigator and the personalized assistance of the Business Concierge provide that entry point.
IASourceLink is not a program that can be effective on its own. It requires collaboration to bring the resources to those who need them. From the beginning the Iowa Economic Development Authority has benefited from the strong partnership it holds with the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Business Growth and Innovation. Together, invested staff from both organizations strive to provide the content that entrepreneurs need, and more importantly, the connections to you, our Resource Partners. Other key partners include the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, which provides access to the IASourceLink Resource Navigator directly through their website and is an important referral site to IASourceLink, and the Iowa Department of Revenue, whose staff host monthly, live webinars on IASourceLink from June to December on a variety of tax-related topics, some of which have attracted over 1,000 attendees from across Iowa. And of course, our partnership with each of you is essential to help share the resources available on IASourceLink with the businesses in your service region.
Looking forward to the next five-year milestone, it’s hard to imagine what technological advances will be developed to move business to the next level. One thing is certain however, entrepreneurs will always need the personal guidance and encouragement that you provide. Cheers to you and to another great five years!