Dream Big Grow Here

REGIONAL—The economic development organizations in N’West Iowa are teaming up for the fifth straight year to offer the Dream Big Grow Here business grant contest in the region.

The Dream Big Grow Here contest is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to fulfill their dreams of self-employment or to expand of their current business.

The contest allows entrepreneurs the chance to submit their dreams to start or expand a business, then encourage friends, family, and customers to vote for them online.

The finalists will present their idea to an audience and judges in a pitch-off event for a chance to win thousands in cash prizes.

Entrepreneurs in Cherokee, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties may submit their business or startup ideas to www.DreamBigGrowHere.com until an Oct. 6 deadline.

Voting on the submitted ideas will take place Oct. 9-18.

During the voting period, the entrepreneur will recruit others to vote for their entry at www.DreamBigGrowHere.com.

The top three vote-getters will advance to a regional pitch-off competition, along with two additional entrants chosen by a selection committee.

Each finalist will have access to the University of Northern Iowa’s Business Concierge Services as well as receive personalized coaching from the Small Business Development Center and UNI’s Center for Business Growth and Innovation.

The regional contest will be held the evening of Thursday, Nov. 14.

That evening finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas with first place receiving $4,000, second place receiving $2,000 and third place receiving $1,000 to grow their business.

American Hero clothing of Larchwood is a previous winner from the region, Carroll Street Treats, Creative Edge and SNSLabz all of Rock Rapids and JAK Sprat of Sanborn are a few former finalists from the area.

Curt Strouth, community development director for the Sheldon Chamber and Development Corporation, encourages entrepreneurs go give it a shot.

“Dream Big, Grown Here is a no-risk grant opportunity for new or current businesses to pitch their ideas which makes them eligible for up to $7,000 in cash prizes,” he said. “A lot of times when a new business is looking to get starting, cash up front can be a limiting factor in launching them forward. This grant program is designed to assist with that concern while also providing great exposure to the business and entrepreneur in the process.”

To learn more or to enter the contest, visit www.DreamBigGrowHere.com.