Four companies in rural Iowa are among the first to receive financial assistance through the Rural Vitality Fund operated by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. The fund is part of the Renew Rural Iowa program created in September of 2006.
Iowa Farm Bureau Senior Investment Manager Dave Sengpiel says the program is more than just money. More than 500 companies took part is six Renew Rural Iowa seminars held this year.
"The companies that we’re helping are coming in all shapes and sizes," Sengpiel says, "with the common theme that they’re all located in communities with populations of less than 30,000. They all want to grow within their communities, but recognize that they need help."
About 40 companies have received mentoring from the Renew Rural Iowa program and Sengpiel says around 20 are potential future recipients of funding. "I’d like to believe that we can probably get another three to seven (companies) funded in 2008," Sengpiel said in a teleconference on Tuesday. Sengpiel says the goal of the program is to expand the number and size of businesses in rural Iowa.
The four companies that are splitting nearly $3 million in the first wave of funding are NewTech Ceramics in Boone, Nu-World Amaranth in Dyersville, Precision Metal Works in Maquoketa, and Reference LLC in Elkader.