A state website to link entrepreneurs with business development help has had 26,000 visitors over the past 12 months — and 70 percent of them were visiting the site for the first time. Kevin Lentz of West Des Moines, chair of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s small business committee, says about 800 entrepreneurs have participated in webinars on the site this past year.
“We realize and understand we’ll always be a little bit of a work in progress and we’re continually evaluating ways to improve the site and its content, get the word out about the site itself,” Lentz says.
The website — www.IASourceLink.com — is a joint project of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the University of Northern Iowa and is part of a national network of similar sites. Lentz says over 300 “service providers” have posted information on the Iowa site.
“Specifically those organizations provide practical, technical and financial assistance regardless of what stage a business might be in, whether it be a concept or someone in their growth cycle,” Lentz says.
The Iowa Secretary of State’s office is in the process of posting a link on the website that will help entrepreneurs get their businesses properly registered and licensed.
“I can tell you firsthand as a small business owner that can be very confusing and very daunting,” Lentz says. “So we’re very excited to have the licensing part added to (IASourceLink.com).”
The Iowa State Bar Association is also sponsoring a link on www.IASourceLink.com to provide access to the legal community for Iowa entrepreneurs launching start-up companies.
This is Global Entrepreneurship Week and seven companies were launched during a “Start-Up” weekend in Des Moines. Today the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a “Dream Big Grow Here” contest. A free two-hour workshop for entrepreneurs will be held tomorrow at Southeast Iowa Community College in Burlington.