Craig Bennett, owner, American Rooster Cafï¿½, (563) 426-5995
Brenda Dryer, director, Buchanan County Economic Development (319) 334-7497
Michael Hahn, program manager, UNI Regional Business Center, (319) 236-8123
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Craig Bennett, owner of the American Rooster Cafï¿½ in Elgin is just one of the success stories to emerge from the University of Northern Iowa Regional Business Center's (RBC) new Rural Business Assistance Program.
According Michael Hahn, RBC program manager, the new program is an entrepreneur service model that provides rural entrepreneurs easier access to the business training resources available through the RBC. Curriculums are delivered on site in each of five communities, and an online business network helps participants work through the critical start-up/expansion phase. The program serves Buchanan and Fayette counties, and the communities of New Hampton, Parkersburg and Postville.
'The goal is to increase the number and quality of entrepreneurs in rural Iowa,' Hahn explained.
Bennett relocated from San Francisco to his hometown of Elgin to operate a local cafï¿½. With the help of the RBC, he greatly broadened his business knowledge and, said Hahn, 'gained the confidence to operate his own business. Today, the American Rooster Cafï¿½ is one of the most popular eating establishments in northeast Iowa.'
The program is made up of three business training courses: Smart Start, for those considering a new venture; Fast Trac, for new entrepreneurs or those operating existing business; and Virtual Entrepreneur Network, for entrepreneurs ready for the next level of business. Smart Start is free; the other two courses are $49 each.
To register, contact Buchanan County Economic Development, (319) 334-7497; or the UNI Regional Business Center, (319) 236-8123, www.unirbc.org.