Entrepreneurs and small businesses in Adair, Audubon, Greene, and Guthrie counties have a variety of resources to seek assistance from. 

Midwest Partnership, Iowa Small Business Development Centers, and Circle West Incubator all provide entrepreneurs with business assistance you can use to help start your new business or expand your existing business.

Please contact us or these organizations to set up a free consultation and for more information. Midwest Partnership suggests that entrepreneurs have at the minimum a rough outline of their business plan before your consultation. This will help the consultant determine what your needs are and how they can better serve you.



WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today launched a new web page and blog dedicated to educating small business owners about the Affordable Care Act. The new tools will serve as a gateway for small business owners connecting them with information provided by SBA’s federal partners responsible for implementing the law, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“The Affordable Care Act provides small business owners with access and opportunity to provide affordable health care options for their employees,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “SBA’s new Affordable  Care Act web page and blog will serve as a resource for small business owners who want learn more about how to take advantage of these benefits.”

The Affordable Care Act has many beneficial measures specifically for small businesses, including slowing premium cost growth and increased access to quality, affordable health insurance. SBA’s new web page, www.sba.gov/healthcare, breaks down the key provisions of the Act based on business size in the following categories: self-employed, fewer than 25 employees, fewer than 50 employees and more than 50 employees. 

The web page also provides links to other useful information for small businesses, including a glossary of key health care reform terms, an interactive timeline with dates for when certain reforms will be implemented, a state-by-state breakdown of health care options, and how to learn more about specific tax provisions and regulations. Additional resources will be added as they become available.

The blog, entitled Health Care Business Pulse (www.sba.gov/blog), will provide small business owners with continuous updates about the implementation of the Act. The blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or tax advice. Readers should consult their legal or tax professionals to discuss how specific matters relate to their individual business circumstances.

All SBA programs and services are provided on a nondiscriminatory basis | Reasonable accommodations will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance

Expanding Entrepreneurs (E2)

E2 is a non-membership group open to all independent business owners.The purpose is to collaborate on common issues in order to enhance business performance and outcomes. The focus is on business start up, promotion & marketing, growth & sustainability and technical assistance. The organization's Facebook page features an online forum for business owners to share ideas and brainstorm.

Meetings, held the 2nd Monday of each month from 5:15-6:15 pm, include topic presentations, networking, roundtable discussions and business site visits. Independent business owners are welcome to attend. For more information, please contact the Greene County Extension office at 515-386-2138 or by e-mail mcooley@iastate.edu.

You can also find E2 at www.expandingentrepreneurs.com.

Iowa Small Business Development Centers

The SBDC conducts research, counsels, and trains business people in management, financing, and operating small businesses, and provides comprehensive information services and access to experts in a variety of fields. Each SBDC encourages unique local efforts, region to region, state to state, and community to community to meet small business needs in its area.

Contact: Sharon Shafer
Mid-Iowa SBDC
10861 Douglas Ave.
Urbandale, IA 50322

Contact: Lisa Shimkat
North Central Iowa SBDC
108 South 8th St.
Ft. Dodge, IA 50501

Contact: Dave McLaren
South Central Iowa SBDC
1501 W. Townline St.
Creston, IA 50801

Contact: Sue Pitts
Southwest Iowa SBDC
Iowa Western Community College
2700 College Road, Box 4C
Council Bluffs, IA 51502
800-432-5852, x3350

Contact: Lori Harmening
Circle West Incubator
109 N. Tracy Street
Audubon, IA 50025
712-563-2623 Audubon
712-792-7874 Carroll



Rural Development Resource Center

The Rural Development Resource Center offers services to southwest Iowa businesses focusing on providing training, tools and resources for business success including full business training in conducting feasibility studies; writing a business plan including preparing financials, marketing plans, organizational structure; and securing funding.

Rural Development Resource Center
Technology Center, Red Oak High School
2011 N. 8th St.
Red Oak, IA 51566

Small Business Adminstration Loan Programs

SBA 504 Loan Program:
- Provides long-term, fixed rate financing to small businesses to acquire real estate or machinery or equipment for expansion or modernization.
- Requires a loan secured from a private-sector lender with a senior lein, a loan secured from a Certified Development Company (Iowa Business Growth Company) with a junior lein covering 40% of total project cost with at least 10% equity from the borrower.
- Maximum $1 million Iowa Business Growth Company (IBGC) is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration to offer the 504 loan program. They work in conjunction with financial institutions to provide a low down payment on fixed rate, long-term financing.

Contact your Local Financial Institution or the Iowa Business Growth Company (www.iabgc.com) to learn more about the SBA 504 Loan Program.

SBA Basic 7 (a) Loan Guaranty
- Funds may be used by eligible small businesses for sound business purposes including working capital, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, land and building, leasehold improvements, and debt refinancing (under special conditions)
- Loan maturity is 10 years for working capital and up to 25 years for fixed assets.

Contact your Local Financial Institution for more information on the SBA Basic 7 (a) Loan Guarantee.

To view frequently asked questions about small business administration please visit http://www.sba.gov

Iowa Microloan Program

IowaMicroLoan is a program created to help Iowans realize their goal of achieving business success when there is a solid idea, team, and commitment to make it work. IowaMicroLoan was created for those microbusinesses that are considered on the fringe of risk-bearing capacity for most traditional financial institutions.

IowaMicroLoan has created a fund to provide a source of capital for microentrepreneurs who are seeking a direct loan of $5,000 to $35,000 or a co-financing arrangement of up to $150,000. Applicants must have applied for a loan at a traditional credit source and have been denied before either of these opportunities are available.

How IowaMicroLoan can help you:

  • Loans for start-up, expansion, and refinancing of small business entrepreneurs
  • A technical assistance plan of work tailored to the needs of your business
  • A technical assistance grant up to $500/client/year to assist in the cost of accessing technical assistance resources
  • Access to networks of local, regional, statewide, and online microbusiness development mentors, coaches, and professionals willing to help your business become profitable.
  • Assistance in improving your credit scores and overall business risk that will allow you to utilize traditional credit resources once you graduate from IowaMicroLoan.
    Once you have downloaded, completed and submitted the IowaMicroLoan Credit applicaiton, our loan administrator will review your documents and advise you of the status of your credit application. If the application is accepted as eligible and complete, we will inform you within 10 working days as to the decision of the loan committee reviewing your credit application. We will begin processing your IowaMicroLoan documents and make closing arrangements at that time.
    IowaMicroLoan loan terms:
  • $5,000 minimum
  • $50,000 maximum (may be a combination of IowaMicroLoans)
  • 9.875% Interest (Maximum)
  • 6 Year term (Maximum)
  • Electronically debited loan payments in accordance to cashflow budget
  • IowaMicroLoan funds may not be used for the purchase of real estate or as a line of credit.
  • Co-financing opportunities to work with local lenders and loan pools up to $105,00

A link to the program’s applications is here: http://www.iowamicroloan.org/how/

Targeted Small Business Assistance

The Targeted Small Business (TSB) Assistance Program supports the creation and expansion of specified businesses. To qualify for the program, a business must have annual gross sales of less than $4 million and be at least 51% owned, operated and actively managed by women, minorities or persons with disabilities.

The business must be certified as a "Targeted Small Business" by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals before applying for or receiving TSB funds. A business can receive "Targeted Small Business" certification through the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals [www.dia.iowa.gov].

Forms of Assistance

  • Loans of up to $50,000 may be provided at interest rates of 0-5% that must be repaid in monthly installments over a five year period. The first installment can be deferred for three months for a start-up business and one month for an existing business.
  • Loan guarantees are available in limited cases for lines of credit up to $50,000. Loan guarantees can cover up to 80% of a loan obtained from a bank or other conventional leader. Interest rates are at the discretion of the lender.
  • Equity grants, up to $50,000, may be available but must be used to leverage SBA or conventional bank loans.
  • Applicant must be able to invest 10% cash of the total project cost. For example, if a loan of $30,000 is sought, the applicant must have $3,000 (10%) of his or her own cash.
    Funds may be used to purchase equipment, acquire inventory, provide operating capital or leverage additional funding.

For more information please visit: http://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/Entrepreneurial/TSB


Business Succession Planning:
Business succession planning starts with assessing your current situation and contemplating your future goals. Whether you are the current or future owner — whether your business is a family-owned operation or a small business — a crucial first step in business succession planning is to evaluate your needs.

Business Succession Planning Goals:
Each individual business owner may have his or her own business succession planning goals, both short- and long-term. Ultimately, the main goal should be to ensure the future success of the business.

As you think about business succession planning, you'll want to consider:

•Who do you want to be in control of the business in the future?
•When will be the best time to begin the business transition?
•What provisions can you add to your business succession plan that will prevent the forced sale of valuable business assets?
•If you have children, how can you distribute business assets to those who are active in the business, while maintaining fairness to your other children?
•If you are retiring, how can you balance the future success of the business with a comfortable retirement?

Your goals, and those of the next generation of owners – whether they are family or not – may be complex, and will need to be weighed carefully as you lay out your plan for the transfer of the business.

Start business succession planning by completing an estate inventory, which details your business assets and liabilities to give you a basis from which to work when sitting down with your business transition team.

Business Succession Planning for Family Farm or Small Business
Non-family Small Business Succession Planning

Business Succession Workshop
The SBDC is leading an initiative designed to help Iowa business owners successfully transfer their business. This initiative is a statewide public/private partnership created to provide information and hands on assistance to business owners who want to transfer their business to family members or sell their business to employees or outside interests. As part of this initiative we are adding content, links and names of service providers throughout the state. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you don’t see what you are looking for or if you need additional help.

Circle West Incubator & DMACC Business Center
Contact: Lori Harmening
(712) 792-7874 (Carroll); (712) 563-2623 (Audubon)

Small business start-ups look to Circle West Incubator in Audubon, an Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), to receive technical assistance and counseling.

Iowa's SBDC's:
•Provide free in-depth quality assistance to small businesses in all areas that promote growth, expansion, innovation, increased productivity and management improvement.
•Link resources of federal, state, and local governments with those of colleges, universities and the private sector to meet the needs of the small business community.
•Develop and expand the unique resources of Iowa.

SBDC's help those who wish to start a business with a plan that will allow them to access capital investment and financing. Whether it is individual counseling, or classes such as the popular Fast Trac Entrepreneurial Training, Circle West Incubator can answer many questions of the prospective business owner.

DMACC Business Center
The DMACC Business Center is a non-profit corporation established to provide assistance to entrepreneurs who wish to start a business with a plan that will allow them to access capital investment and financing. The DMACC Business Center utilizes a multi-step one-on-one process to assist prospective business owners in the technical aspects of establishing a business and counseling in the legal and financial aspects. There is no charge to prospective business owners for services.

Previously known as Circle West Incubator, the DMACC Business Center was established by seven west-central Iowa counties in 1987 to stimulate economic development and create jobs. It is operated under the support of local community leaders and DMACC and is funded by a grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development and DMACC.

10 Small Business Web Sites to Visit Today:
Use Bigstep.com’s free service to create and manage a professional e-business web site and market your business online.

The Center for Business Planning helps you plan, document and evaluate all aspects of your business strategy.

From the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, this site offers resources for starting, growing and supporting your business.

An online marketplace for purchasing and financing, this site levels the playing field for small businesses by giving them access to a network of lenders and industrial and equipment distributors.

A site to get help finding seed money for your small business, Garage.com helps entrepreneurs and investors build great businesses.

Find information about the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guaranteed loan programs, government resources and legislation relating to small businesses on this site.

The CCH Business Owners Toolkit offers small business tax information, a small office/home office guidebook and more.

If you’re self employed, a home-based business owner, a free agent an e-lancer, a telecommuter, or other independent professional then this site’s for you.

Great advice for working women, about woman-owned firms and targeted resources for women in business.

Get tips and tools for building and growing your web site, attracting customers, making money and managing operations.