CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Small businesses create new jobs, develop new ideas and offer valuable services all across the state, and they employ more than half of Iowa's private labor force. Inspiring those business owners to grow and develop their business, and providing the tools to do so, is the impetus behind the fourth annual EntreFest! conference, taking place Thursday and Friday, Feb. 24 and 25, in Dubuque. EntreFest! brings information, expertise and fun under one roof, providing Iowa business owners, and those aspiring to be in business, an opportunity to learn, share and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit.
The two-day conference will be at the Hotel Julien, 200 Main St., Dubuque. Registration is $79 per person. Attendees will compete for a chance to receive a $10,000 marketing research project from UNI's Strategic Marketing Services, and all attendees will be registered for a chance to win a Dell laptop computer.
According to Amy Kuhlers, program manager for MyEntre.Net Iowa with the University of Northern Iowa's Regional Business Center, "Over 300 attendees were with us for the EntreFest! conference last February in West Des Moines. They loved the networking, the market research assistance, the laptop giveaway and, of course, the helpful advice throughout the conference. EntreFest! 2011 will continue the tradition, offering 16 breakout sessions, on-the-spot consulting, lots of exhibitors and a few surprises along the way."
This year's sessions are geared to help attendees successfully start, grow and manage their businesses. Attendees will learn about optimizing their marketing and advertising dollars, how to effectively use social media and their website for greater exposure, the art of networking, innovative financing ideas and more. There will be an abundance of networking opportunities, and the Biz Info Smorgasbord will provide attendees a chance to ask questions of business experts in a fun, informal setting.
This year's featured keynote presenter is nationally acclaimed speaker Bob Clements, founder of Bob Clements International. Clements is an entrepreneur, author of the book "The 8 Greatest Sales Secrets in the World" and is considered one of the top speakers and trainers in the country dealing with sales and business performance.
The featured capstone presenter is Sarah Miller Caldicott, entrepreneur, innovator and great grandniece of Thomas Edison. Caldicott is founder of her own Chicago-based consultancy, The Power Patterns of Innovations, and is co-author of the book "Innovate Like Edison," which has been featured in The New York Times, Fortune Small Business, USA Today and Investor's Business Daily. Caldicott also appears as an innovation expert on PBS television, CNBC, the Fox Business Network and NPR.
EntreFest! is presented by a collaborative committee of Iowa's premier service providers from across the state and is sponsored by the UNI Regional Business Center and MyEntreNet; the ISU Community Vitality Center; Iowa Microloan; Iowa Farm Bureau/Renew Rural Iowa; the Iowa Area Development Group Community Foundation; Alliant Energy; Iowa Small Business Development Centers; Dubuque Bank & Trust; the Iowa Bankers Association; and UNI Strategic Marketing Services, UNI Business and Community Services division.
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