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Dream Big Grow Here $15,000 Business Grant Competition Announced for North Iowa Region

Tuesday, October 8, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jeanne Yocum
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Mason City, Iowa – The North Iowa Corridor, Cerro Gordo Chambers of Mason City and Clear Lake, NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center have partnered with the University of Northern Iowa to offer an award winning online business grant contest worth $5,000 to regional entrepreneurs and small business owners called Dream Big Grow Here.  This year’s focus will be on businesses that engage in interstate commerce. Contestants can win cash and gain widespread statewide publicity by competing in the "North Iowa 2013” followed by a statewide Pitch-Off event during the annual EntreFest! conference in March 2014 for a shot at the $10,000 grand prize.

Now in its third year, Dream Big Grow Here offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to upload their business dream online from now until October 31 at, then encourage customers, friends, family, and community members to vote online for them from Monday, November 4 to Wednesday, November 18th.  The top five online vote getters will then participate in a regional pitch-off event on Wednesday, December 4th to determine the regional $5,000 business grant winner.  Winners from each of the regional contests will all be invited to go on to compete for an additional $10,000 grand prize business grant in a live pitch-off event during the statewide EntreFest! conference for Iowa business owners to be held early next year. 

According to Tom Mulholland, owner of Mulholland Grocery in Malvern Iowa and the 2012 Dream Big Grow Here grand prize winner, "the Dream Big Grow Here contest has proven to be a bountiful opportunity for my business, and my community.  Just since winning the contest earlier this year, we have had visitors and gained new customers from all across the state (and even from outside Iowa).  One of our highlights was hosting Kim Reynolds, our Lieutenant Governor, here in Malvern to see Mulholland Grocery and learn more about our local business community.”

Lead sponsor for Dream Big Grow Here 2012 is the Iowa Bankers Association.  Other key sponsors for Dream Big Grow Here are a mix of private and public sector agencies, including the University of Northern Iowa MyEntre.Net, Iowa Bankers Association, Renew Rural Iowa, Iowa Economic Development Authority, VentureNet, Delta Dental of Iowa, and the Technology Association of Iowa.  Local sponsors include North Iowa Corridor, Cerro Gordo Chambers of Mason City and Clear Lake, and the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

For more information on the "North Iowa 2013” and to enter the contest, go to scroll down the page to the map of Iowa and click on your county.  For complete rules or for more information about this regional contest contact Dan Winegarden at 641-422-4191 or  To learn more about how your community can get involved in this exciting initiative, contact UNI Dream Big Grow Here Statewide Lead Rob Williams at or by phone at 319-273-4333.

The national NACCE Innovation Award winning NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center provides college level courses and degree programs in entrepreneurship, as well as comprehensive consulting services for business start-ups, existing industries and owner transitions in the North Iowa region.   Space is available for start-up businesses in the North Iowa Business Incubator. For more information, contact the NIACC JPEC at 641-422-4111.


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