Win Contest For Money To Start Or Expand A Business

Sheldon, Iowa — If you’re a local entrepreneur trying to start or expand a business, there’s a contest tailor-made for you.
dream big grow here logo
The economic development organizations in northwest Iowa are once again teaming up to bring the statewide Dream Big Grow Here business grant contest to our region.

The Dream Big Grow Here contest is an opportunity for Iowans to fulfill their dreams of self-employment or expansion of their current business. Sheldon Economic Development Director Curt Strouth says the contest allows entrepreneurs the chance to submit their dreams to start or expand a business, then encourage friends, family, and customers to vote for them online.

From now until January 31st, entrepreneurs in Cherokee, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties can submit their business or startup ideas to Those submitting an idea will choose among the categories of Pre-revenue, Retail/Wholesale, Hospitality/ Restaurants, Ag Innovation, Professional Services, and Manufacturing/Bioscience/ Information Technology. Strouth tells us why the categories exist.

Voting on the submitted ideas will take place February 8th to the 12th. During the voting period, the entrepreneur will recruit others to vote for their entry at Five entries will be selected from each industry category to advance to the statewide contest at the statewide entrepreneurial conference, EntreFEST, in Iowa City on May 19, 2016. Each entrepreneur that advances in their industry category will participate in a pitch-off event against the other industry finalists for a chance to win $5,000. The winners of each industry category will then advance to the finals the evening of May 19th for a chance to win a grand prize to be announced at EntreFEST 2016.

There’s also a regional contest to be held in April. Strouth says you don’t have to win at the regional contest to be considered for the state contest. He says they’re actually two separate contests but you only have to enter the state contest to be entered for both. The regional contest will allow the top five vote-getters in northwest Iowa to refine their pitches, showcase their ideas, and compete in a regional pitch off event for $5,000. Additional details about the regional contest will be announced in March.

Strouth says they encourage entrepreneurs to enter.

For more information, contact Strouth at 712-324-2813 or; Kiana Johnson at O’Brien County Economic Development at 712-957-1313 or; or Renee Billings at Again you can also find more information at