Win up to $10,000 for
your business!

Capital is a necessary component to starting and growing your business. Thousands of dollars in cash have been awarded to business owners like you, through Dream Big Grow Here.

Dream Big Grow Here runs from December through May. It starts with an online application and voting, followed by an in-person industry specific pitch-off for a chance to earn $5,000. Industry winners then become eligible to further compete for a chance to win a $5,000 grand prize to be announced at EntreFEST 2016.

Participating in Dream Big Grow Here will give your business wide-spread publicity and enhance valuable skills including social media, promotion, and business planning.

Watch how small business owner Tom Mulholland’s local grocery business was transformed with help from the Dream Big Grow Here competition!

How the Contest Works

  • STEP 1: Apply
    • From December 1-January 30, we will accept online applications for the Dream Big Grow Here contest. Participants can submit an application to one of the following six industries: Ag Innovation, Hospitality/ Restaurants, Manufacturing/BioScience, Information Technology, Pre-Revenue, and Retail/Professional Services. Applications consist of a few short answer questions and a required 1-2 minute video.

  • STEP 2: Online Voting
    • For two weeks, from February 8-February 22 voting will be open and you, your friends, and family members can vote for your business dream. We use a Facebook login requirement to reduce fraudulent voting. More information can be found in our private policy agreement.

  • STEP 3: Applications Judged and Industry Finalists Announced
    • Five finalists from each industry will advance to the Industry Pitch Offs. The entry with the most online votes in each industry will automatically advance. The remaining four finalists will be decided on based upon the quality of their applications through a judging team at UNI. An announcement will be made on who the industry finalists are, one week after voting has ended.

  • STEP 4: Pitch Coaching
    • Industry finalists will have two months to prepare a 6 minute pitch about their business. In April, each finalist will attend a practice pitch session and get critiques and feedback from Venture Net Iowa.

  • STEP 5: Industry Pitch-Offs
    • Industry finalists will pitch off at EntreFEST, for a chance at winning a $5,000 or $2,000 grant for their business. This event will be open to the public.

  • STEP 6: Winners Selected and Awards Ceremony
    • First and Second place winners from each industry will be announced at EntreFEST during an Awards Ceremony. This event will be open to the public.


  • DBGH Overview & Tips To Apply Webinar: Nov 12

  • Application Period: Dec 1 - Jan 31

  • Voting Period: Feb 8 - Feb 22

  • Pitch-Off Coaching: April

  • Industry/Statewide Pitch-Offs & Winners Selected: May 18 - 20