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Entrepreneurs energize rural Iowa

By Staff | Dec 27, 2013

“With technology and creativity, rural entrepreneurs and small-business owners are helping to keep our communities strong.” —Lisa Shimkat Director, NCSIBDC

DES MOINES – More entrepreneurs succeed through determination rather than inspiration, and Iowa is blessed to have successful entrepreneurs, said Mike Colwell, executive director of the Business Innovation Zone in Des Moines.

“Entrepreneurs are extremely important to Iowa,” Colwell said. “From an employment standpoint, startups add net new jobs.

“Beyond that, entrepreneurs who succeed often stay in Iowa, independent of the business they create. They become the seed capital and mentors for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

As he developed his Real Time Ag program, Mike Sexton, of Rockwell City, worked with the Business Innovation Zone, which assists with business model development, strategy, financial and business planning, mentoring, consulting, networking opportunities and more.

“Farmers are entrepreneurs who invest a tremendous amount of time and resources to build their business while supporting their family,” said Sexton, who has farmed since 1982.

Several years ago he received a demonstration fund grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development to help him develop his Real Time Ag software program.

“We’re fortunate that Iowa has a lot of resources to help entrepreneurs of all types grow their businesses,” Sexton said.

These resources include the North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center in Fort Dodge.

“Entrepreneurs are vital to the health of rural Iowa’s economic future,” said Lisa Shimkat, director of the NCISBDC, which helps business owners like Sexton compile market plans, cash flow projections, business plans and business continuity planning.

“With technology and creativity,” she said, “rural entrepreneurs and small-business owners are helping to keep our communities strong.”

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