You’re in luck, here are six free sources for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Iowa offered by the BCS. From environmental assistance to online training, these resources are the nuts and bolts to ‘Building a Better Iowa’.
Worried about your business’s environmental impact? Look no further than the IWRC, a non-profit organization specializing in environmental consulting and education. The IWRC offers free technical assistance to small businesses (with 200 or fewer employees) across Iowa. The IWRC team is packed with environmental specialists who are experts in wastewater, air emissions, hazardous waste and much more (did we mention laws and regulations too?) From microbrews to local salvage yards, the IWRC not only provides free technical assistance but also offers genuine feedback with actual suggestions for improving the efficiency of your facility. Saving money and saving the planet just got a whole lot easier!
Think of the Business Concierge as your personal business facilitator. Offered by the Center for Business Growth and Innovation (CBGI), this unique program bridges connections between Iowa entrepreneurs/businesses and public sector organizations. The completely free service analyzes your small business and then conducts specialized market research. What do we mean by research? The Business Concierge can compile databases and other marketing lists to create personalized contacts for your small business. They also act as an intermediary between connections and your business, to ensure the best fit. Business Concierge is offered to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the state and positively impacts the connections you can make in your community.
Getting your small business started can be tough. That’s where the (SBDC comes in. They offer more than two dozen (27 to be exact) free online business training workshops. Each workshop is organized into one of three categories Starting Your Business, Managing Your Finances and Foundations of Marketing. From there you can learn the basics of developing a business plan to finding partners and investors to even building your brand. This pro bono resource is geared toward up and coming entrepreneurs or small business owners, but offers valuable information to any owner and is sponsored by U.S. Bank. It’s good to note that the UNI campus is the home of the is home to the SBDC region which covers Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler Chickasaw, Fayette, Grundy, Howard and Tama counties.
Free is every college student's favorite word. So if you’re in college at the University of Northern Iowa and thinking about starting a business, the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is the perfect place to look. Take the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator for example. It’s an educational laboratory for students to turn their business ideas into realities. This is where students can learn the ins and outs of running their own business with the help from certified public accountants, attorneys, and business administrative experts...all while in college. This award-winning student entrepreneurship program is the real deal and offers tons of resources for student entrepreneurs.
Is your small business looking into energy conservation? Do you have questions about local foods? The CEEE offers free consulting to institutions and small businesses alike. They’re here to discuss energy conservation and efficiency, local foods planning, and community environmental health. They also serve as a connection to additional resources here in the Cedar Valley and throughout the country. While you’re at it, take a look at their events page. The CEEE offers a variety of environmental educational events within the Waterloo/Cedar Falls region all for free.
Restoring Iowa’s natural habitat has never been easier for your small business. From preventing soil erosion to stabilizing Iowa’s environment, prairie restoration can do a lot of good. The Tallgrass Prairie Center not only offers free educational events, like Prairie On Farms field days or restoration seminars but also provides technical guides available for free download. These publications provide step-by-step instructions for prairie installation and planting. Not about reading? They have free videos as well.
Whether you’ve been a business owner for years or you’re just hatching your idea, the free programs offered by Business and Community Services can be helpful to you.