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Iowa program aims to help small businesses

The Targeted Small Business program, through the Iowa Economic Development Authority, is a resource for woman and minority-owned businesses

DES MOINES, Iowa — A program started in Iowa nearly 25 years ago is still helping small businesses across the state.  It's called the Targeted Small Business program. It is designed to help eligible business owners start or expand their business.

One of the participants is James Neely, who owns Bottle & Bottega, in downtown Des Moines.  The art studio invites people to learn to paint while enjoying wine or a beer.  When he started his business just a few years ago, he admits, there was a lot he had to learn.

"There so many things that you have no idea that you don't know. That's where the fear comes in," said Neely.

The program aims to help a specific group of business owners.  According to Jill Lippincott, team leader of innovation and apprenticeship with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the program is open to "businesses in Iowa that are 51% owned by women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, or service disabled veterans." 

The program primarily offers resources like education and networking opportunities.  

"This program really was established to help these businesses get started, not feel so alone, and help those disadvantaged businesses have a leg up when starting their small business," said Lippincott.

But there is also opportunities to apply for loans and get early access to bid on projects with the state.

"Many of our entrepreneurs, especially our women and diverse entrepreneurs, their networks may be a little smaller when starting their business or they may not have a banking relationship established when they're looking to raise capitol for their small business," said Lippincott.

While Neely says he completely self-funded his business, he has looked to the program for advice.

"They definitely were an organization that educated us and said these things are available," Neely  said.

For more information on the program, you can visit the Iowa Economic Development Authority's website.

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