Businesses sought for Open for Business contest

Monday, February 10, 2020

LE MARS — Le Mars businesses once again have a chance to take part in the Main Street Open for Business competition.

“The competition is open to businesses located in any of the 54 Main Street Iowa districts,” said Le Mars Main Street Manager Mary Reynolds. “The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center on Main Street Iowa programs and are focused on enhancing existing small businesses.”

Reynolds said in order to be eligible, businesses must be a for-profit business located in the Main Street district, have been open for one year, and must be at least 18 years old at the time the entry is submitted.

The competition, which starts locally, requires each business to submit a five-minute video presentation along with a $10,000 budget so the judges can see what they are requesting, and make a presentation to the judges. Following the presentation, the judges are allowed time to question each business.

The local competition will be held Thursday, March 5, where one business will be selected to advance to the state competition.

The business selected locally will have an in-depth grant written by Reynolds, Rich Ziettlow and Steve Collins. From there, the grant is sent to the State Main Street office where a selection committee selects five or six businesses to compete in a population category. Those businesses will then be interviewed by a panel in Des Moines.

“One winner will come from each of the three population categories across the state and two wild card entrants are chosen from the total pool of people,” Reynolds said.

The state competition will be held in Iowa City on Monday, July 27, where the winners will be announced.

“This grant is different than most grants which are for bricks and mortar,” Reynolds explained. “The Open for Business grant is for, simply put, stuff. You can use the grant to buy new equipment, computers, mannequins, photography equipment, inventory, the list goes on. This is a chance to add something new to your business, streamline your inventory process, or get something for your business you have been dreaming of.”

Reynolds said Le Mars has competed the last four years. In 2017, the Browns Theater advanced to state and won second place earning $18,500 in grants. The following year, in 2018, Le Mars made it to state again with Get Branded 360 winning $14,500.

Businesses who would like more information can contact Reynolds at 712-546-8821 or mary@lemarschamber.org.

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