FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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Application Process

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  • Q: WHEN CAN I APPLY?

    The submission period will open on December 1st and continue through January 31st.  

  • Q: HOW DO I APPLY?

    To enter you'll need to create an account and fill out the online application, including a short video submission. Instructions as well as additional resources on how the contest works can be found on the Dream Big Grow Here homepage. 

  • Q: HOW DO I CHOOSE AN INDUSTRY?

    Here are some brief descriptions of each of the industry contests:

    AG INNOVATION: Have an innovative product in the agriculture industry? We're looking for people making a difference using apps, tools, or technology to better the agriculture industry.
    RETAIL/RESTAURANTS: This contest is for restaurants and any business that sells products to consumers.
    MANUFACTURING/BIOSCIENCE: Are you manufacturing the next big product or making a new scientific breakthrough? If you make a product or work in a lab or factory setting, this could be the contest for you!
    INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: This industry covers the use of computers and mobile devices to solve problems and manipulate data.
    PRE-REVENUE: This contest is for anyone just starting out with their business idea. You must not have made any sales yet.
    HOSPITALITY/PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: If you are in the hospitality industry, such as hotels, and bed and breakfasts, or have a business that offers a service such as accounting, consulting, or law, this contest is for you.

  • Q: I DON’T SEE AN INDUSTRY THAT FITS MY BUSINESS? CAN I STILL APPLY?

    Go ahead and select to apply for the industry that looks closest to you. Once we review your application, we will help you figure out which one best fits.  

  • Q: CAN I APPLY IF I AM A NON-PROFIT COMPANY?

    Unfortunately, the Dream Big Grow Here program is designed to assist for-profit businesses only. To see what other grants may be available, or for other financial assistance, please contact the University of Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center.

  • Q: CAN I APPLY IF I HAVEN’T ESTABLISHED MY BUSINESS YET? (I'M STILL IN THE PLANNING STAGES)

    Yes, you can apply if your business idea is located in Iowa and is for-profit. If you are entering into the Pre-Revenue contest, you should not have made a sale. You should absolutely submit your idea, regardless of how early you are in exploring the idea of entrepreneurship. This is the purpose of the Dream Big Grow Here Pre-Revenue contest. 

  • Q: HOW MUCH DETAIL DO I NEED WHEN DESCRIBING MY BUSINESS MODEL ON THE APPLICATION?

    That decision is up to you. If you can clearly articulate in a compelling way your business model and why you deserve the money in an executive summary- that works for us.

    We will be looking at your business model, your entry video and number of votes, and the use of funds/impact to make our decision. So long as you nail each of these high level segments, you will do well.  

  • Q: HOW MUCH OF MY APPLICATION WILL BE MADE PUBLIC?

    Everything that you include in your application will be visible to both the judges and public on the Dream Big Grow Here website.

  • Q: WHY DO I HAVE TO DISCLOSE SO MUCH INFORMATION ON THE APPLICATION AND VIDEO? (PRE-REVENUE)

    We understand that you don't want to draw attention to your business until you've officially launched, however for the Dream Big Grow Here contest we do require that your video be public so that we can include it in our judging process. Once submitted and approved, your entry will be live on the Dream Big Grow Here site, but it will be up to you when and if you want to promote your video and/or social media accounts to solicit votes for your dream.

  • Q: IS A VIDEO REQUIRED?

    We do require a video that is at least 30 seconds, but no more than than three minutes long, from each participant to help support their entry- covering the why, how, and impact of your business. You can go on YouTube and use an integrated webcam/mic to record a short video of yourself describing your service. For help creating a video, please see our Resources page.

  • Q: WHERE CAN I GET HELP CREATING A VIDEO?

    We've put together some helpful resources to assist you in creating a short video. Please see our Resources page for for information.

    If you're looking for inspiration or examples of past entrant videos, check out our DBGH Past Favorites playlist on YouTube. You can also find other DBGH videos there that you might find helpful.

  • Q: DO I HAVE TO UPLOAD IMAGES TO MY APPLICATION?

    We don't require that you have images attached to your application, but they will show up when people click to learn more about your entry on the website, so we strongly suggest that you add them to supplement your entry.

  • Q: HOW DO I MAKE A VIDEO PUBLIC ON YOUTUBE?

    To participate in the DBGH contest, we do require you to have a public video on YouTube. To change your video from “Private” to “Public” follow these instructions:

    • Log into YouTube and click on "My Channel" on the top left hand side
    • Click on your video and select the "Video Manager" button on the far right hand side
    • In the Video Manager view, on the right, under "View",  you should see a little blue lock icon 
    • Click on that blue lock icon
    • From there you should see a drop down box under the video where you can change from "Private" to "Public"
    • Make sure to click on the blue "Save Changes" button at the top to save your changes
  • Q: CAN THE VIDEO BE LONGER THAN 3 MINUTES?

    We'd prefer the video to be under 3 minutes long. Voters will be able to watch the entire video regardless of the length when they click on your entry. However, if you submit a video longer than 3 minutes, we can't guarantee that the judging panel will watch it entirely; they will most likely watch the first 3 minutes and judge based on that. So please keep that in mind when choosing how long your video should be.

Online Voting

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  • Q: IS IT REQUIRED THAT I HAVE A PERSONAL FACEBOOK ACCOUNT TO VOTE? (PRIVACY CONCERNS)

    We only use Facebook to verify votes. We do require voters to verify that they are a real person through their personal Facebook account. While we analyze the data provided from Facebook, the information read is never shared or used in any manner other than the verification check. We DO NOT take a list of your friends, nor do we use any data collected from Facebook in any way other than to verify that you are a real person who has cast their vote. We have a comprehensive Privacy Policy, which you can read here

  • Q: HOW DO I KNOW IF MY VOTE HAS COUNTED?

    The vote actually happens on the entry page, directly below where the rank and number of votes is displayed near the top right. When your vote goes through, you will see a vote confirmation page. If you did not see a vote confirmation page, your vote was not counted.

    If you have not logged into Facebook in your browser before, you will see a log in button which you will need to click first- then a blue vote button will appear that you can click after you allow Facebook (again this is all directly below the current vote count). We’ve tried to make the page as clear as we could, but integrating the Facebook components ties our hands on some of the design elements.

  • Q: DO WE TRACK VOTES AND SHARE WITH ENTRANTS?

    We don't have a way to track who specifically votes for you; we leave that up to you to track. Probably the most effective thing you can do is to comment on your entry page on the Dream Big Grow Here website and ask people to vote for you. Then from the comments, you could do giveaways at the end of the contest to the people who commented.

  • Q: CAN I BOOST A POST ON FACEBOOK?

    Boosting a post on Facebook that links to your entry is fine. Just avoid any method that pays cash direct for votes.

  • Q: CAN I DO GIVEAWAYS OR PRIZES FOR VOTES?

    This is okay to do since it is an in-kind offer and not cash in exchange for votes. You can't however, directly pay people to vote for you.

    In the past, some entrants required folks to leave a comment on their dream entry page and then the entrant could select a random winner from there. We'd recommend going this route. Please know that you will be responsible for verifying which people vote for you; we cannot provide voter data.

  • Q: WHY AREN’T MY FRIENDS' VOTES GETTING COUNTED?

    If you are having issues with votes not being counted, please reach out to us directly at info@dreambiggrowhere.com and send us screenshots of the error messages you receive. The issues that we have verified and fixed have been very user specific, which is why we need the folks having trouble to reach out to us direct.

    Some common problems that we’ve seen so far, are third party applications blocking the vote, network firewalls (like many schools or public wifi access points have), people being logged in as a page account instead of their personal account and trying to vote, and/or people not clicking through after logging in with Facebook to the vote button.

    Anyone who votes successfully should see a confirmation page after they click on the vote button. Please have folks keep trying, and those who might be willing, to send us additional information so we can assist.

  • Q: HOW ARE YOU KEEPING PEOPLE FROM CHEATING WITH VOTING?

    We take all concerns of fraud exceedingly seriously. At the end of the day, our team does recognize that it is time to make Dream Big Grow Here less of a ‘popularity’ contest and more of a value-add business grant program. To this point- this year only the top vote recipient will receive an automatic bid to the pitch off event. Four others in each industry contest will be selected to advance, based on the quality of their dream application (with a small weight on the number of votes). This is not a free pass to not have to work to get votes, but rather a recognition on our part that this piece of the program could use some improvement.  We warmly welcome other ideas you have on how we can continue to make DBGH a valuable program to Iowa entrepreneurs.

Preparation Coaching

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  • Q: WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO MY COACHING APPOINTMENT?

    Congrats on being selected as an industry finalist! Please have your PowerPoint and presentation script ready to give for our Venture Net coaching. We will start with this, then provide feedback. Also bring any handouts or additional items you plan to give to the judges during the pitch-Off event. 

  • Q: CAN I GIVE YOU MY HANDOUTS AT VENTURE NET COACHING TO HOLD ONTO UNTIL ENTREFEST? 

    Please bring whatever handouts you’re planning on using for your pitch to your coaching appointment, however you will need to bring your handouts again to the actual DBGH event. We cannot be responsible for all 30 finalists’ handouts.

DBGH Pitch-off Event

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  • Q: WHAT WILL THE ROOM BE LIKE THAT I’M PITCHING IN? (PODIUM, CLICKER, SPEAKERS)

    We will have a podium along with a remote for slides. We highly recommend embedding any audio you have into your PowerPoint. If this is not possible, you’ll need to get us the mp3 file right away, so that we can find a way to pre-load it on the computer and play it for you. Easels and posters are fine, but we cannot guarantee that they will not take away from your time to present. We also recommend that you bring additional people to help, so that you are not spending your limited time setting these things up once you are up to pitch.

  • Q: WILL I BE INTRODUCED BEFORE MY SPEAK? (SHOULD I INCLUDE MY CREDENTIALS IN THE PITCH?)

    We won't be doing long introductions before each pitch, so you’ll need to include your credentials in your presentation (either in a visual or verbal way). Keep in mind that you can also provide handouts which could include this information there.

  • Q: HOW MUCH TIME WILL I HAVE IN BETWEEN PITCHES?

    You will have less than five minutes for set up/tear down. We have built in a small amount of wiggle room, but not much.

  • Q: WILL THERE BE A FRIDGE TO STORE MY SAMPLES FOR MY PITCH?

    We have secured a mini-fridge for you to use in the room where your pitch will be taking place. Contact us if you will be needing to use it for your pitch.

  • Q: WHEN DO I NEED TO GIVE DBGH THE FINAL VERSION OF MY PRESENTATION?

    We will need to collect the final versions of your presentation by no later than the Friday before the pitch-off.


None of these FAQs answer the questions I have.
If your issue remains unresolved, you can email info@dreambiggrowhere. We will try to respond within 72 hours.