Dan Beenken, program manager, UNI Regional Business Center (319) 273-4322
Rebecca Schultze, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-3309
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa â€“ Morgan Hoenig, owner of Mogo Organic based in Mount Pleasant, has won the final cash grant award of $10,000 from MyEntre.Net's "Dream Big Grow Here" contest.
A finalist in a 2011 regional contest, Hoenig gave her state-wide winning pitch to a panel of judges during EntreFest!, March 8-9, in Ames. She competed against six other winners from the 2011 Dream Big Grow Here regional competitions: Adrenaline X Moblile Laser Tag of Cedar Falls, RealEstateFanPages.com of Des Moines, K&K Gardens of Hawkeye, Zebra Media of Fairfield, Safari Child Care Center of Milford, and Go Topless Glassware of Ames.
Hoenig was thrilled to win the contest and receive the $10,000 grant for her operations.
"I plan to use the funds to continue renovating our barn. It needs a new roof and we are installing a walk-in cooler," she said. "There are lots of other little projects around the farm that would benefit from some extra cash, so I'm sure the money will go fast, but it won't go to waste."
Dream Big Grow Here was started by the University of Northern Iowa's MyEntre.Net, Iowa's online community for Iowa entrepreneurs and small business. The contest is a way to award grants to deserving small businesses and entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses in Iowa.
"Working with regional and state-wide partners, we've awarded over $50,000 to Iowa businesses since we began Dream Big Grow Here in 2010," said Dan Beenken, program manager at the UNI Regional Business Center and manager of the contest. "The success has been very rewarding. We've had an incredible amount of interest, and the pitch-off during EntreFest! was a great way to showcase some of the talented entrepreneurs we have in the Iowa."
MyEntre.Net partnered with the Iowa Banker's Association (IBA) to sponsor the final round of the contest.
"The Iowa Bankers Association is proud to invest in the vitality of our state's small businesses and entrepreneurs by providing financial support for Dream Big Grow Here," said IBA President and CEO John Sorensen.
Hosts sought for 2012 regional contests
Applications are now being accepted for 2012 Dream Big Grow Here regional contest hosts. To qualify, regional economic development organizations must agree to market the contest to a minimum of four Iowa counties or an urban region; pledge matching funds of $2,500 for a total regional contest award of $5,000; and vigorously promote the contest to the communities they serve. For more information or to apply, economic development organizations should contact Beenken at 319-273-4322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Dream Big Grow here or other sponsorship opportunities available to touch Iowa's small business community, contact Maureen Collins-Williams at 319-273-4327 or Maureen. Collins-Williams@uni.edu.