The UNI team believed that a technology solution could be found to identify and attract entrepreneurs so that EDO’s could engage them over the life of their business and that such an approach could improve business owner access to resources and their peers. Building upon the premise that all entrepreneurs want to secure cash grants if possible, the Dream Big Grow Here contests were developed as an attractive cash competition to engage entrepreneurs online, where they could then be connected with resource providers in their home communities and online. As it was developed over the first two years, it also became a powerful tool to foster collaboration between existing service providers and a marvelous way to celebrate small business in the state.

We established multiple success measurements for DBGH:

  1. to connect small business and entrepreneurs with regional economic development organizations,
  2. to encourage small business owners to use technology and to interact with one another online,
  3. to leverage widespread marketing and positive publicity for small Iowa companies,
  4. to enhance the supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state.

The use of an online contest to attract, learn about and engage large numbers of entrepreneurs is novel. Unlike business plan competitions which attract only small numbers of deeply committed entrepreneurs, Dream Big Grow Here attracts hundreds of entrepreneurs at different stages of business development and across many industries. The online pitches capture critical information about these entrepreneur’s plans for startup and growth which can be used by regional EDO’s to better serve them and others on an ongoing basis.

Recognition & Awards

  • Mid-America Economic Development Council's 2012 Annual Economic Development Award
  • University Economic Development Association Award of Excellence in Innovation & Entrepreneurship 2013

Last Year's Winners

Click below to choose a category of last year’s winners and entrants.

Professional Services

Lawyers, accountants, consultants, and professionals of all types- show us your dreams!


UpCraft Club: the first modern sewing and crafting association

Elizabeth Caven
UpCraft Club
Millions of sewists, knitters, quilters, and crafters create beautiful things using digital tools. But there hasn't been a coalition for these modern makers...until now. UpCraft Club is an association of modern crafters dedicated to elevating the quality of our crafts and the patterns we use.
UpCraft Club is the first to recognize a growing problem felt by millions of modern sewists, knitters, quilters, and crafters. They love digital resources, but with over 30,000 pdf patterns for sale online and more being released every day, how do they know which ones are worth the time and money?

UpCraft Club has created the first and premier set of pattern standards and uses a team of experienced sewists to certify patterns for quality.

Using an association business model, crafters join UpCraft Club and pay a monthly membership fee that easily pays for itself each month with a variety of benefits including access to the complete list of certified patterns, discounts to nationally known retailers like JoAnn Fabrics as well as smaller independent shops.

Members also receive a free pattern, class or webinar for free every month. The unique products and videos offered monthly through the site are available to purchase by non-members as well, providing a significant additional revenue stream to the organization.

After conducting interviews with potential customers and creating a minimum viable product, a simple version of the association launched on January 21, 2015, exceeding growth expectations from day one. After the first week more than 800 users had registered with the site and dozens of requests rolled in from pattern designers seeking certification.

There are a number of competing websites offering video instruction in the areas of sewing, knitting, and other crafts. There are also several professional associations for seamstresses, quilters, and specialty crafts. UpCraft Club is different from all of these companies in its unique approach to creating standards for digital products as well as providing online learning in a new way to the massive market of modern makers.
The idea behind UpCraft Club came after Elizabeth, a blogger and children's clothing pattern designer, often read comments online from hundreds of frustrated sewists and crafters about how poorly written some patterns were and how much money these women had wasted on bad digital resources. Throughout 2014 the number of patterns for sale online grew enormously and the problem got more widespread.

Elizabeth asked customers what they wanted and set out to build it through a simple website. For a business model that promotes membership, the site is lacking in functionality for members to be able to log in and receive their benefits.

To get the videos and patterns for the store area of the site, Elizabeth reached out to friends and built a strong, although technologically lacking, list of products to sell. With the overwhelmingly positive response to the simple site, it is clear that opportunity for new customers will only grow when UpCraft Club can deliver a better experience and produce higher quality video classes and webinars.

Money won from Dream Big Grow Here will be used to develop a stronger website, hire a video production company to bring new classes to customers, and help secure desirable patterns to list on the site.

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Making the world JETSTRONG!

Shawn Johnson
Johnson's Elite Training
Osceola, IA
We don’t just collect membership dues, we give members the tools to reach their goals! I've been growing what started as a small personal training business into our first, of many to come, JET Fitness Centers. I'm striving to revolutionize the fitness industry!
What's Unique about Johnson's Elite Training and our JET Fitness Center? We feel that it's the responsibility of the Fitness Center to provide each member with the tools to reach their goals! We don’t feel that a member wanting to reach their goals should be charged an additional fee to have the knowledge on how to achieve them. If you're someone who's self-driven, but lack knowledge as to what to do when you get to the gym, JET Fitness Center is the place for you! What sets us apart from the competition is that I've created all this with having an immense amount of knowledge in the field of exercise. I feel that knowledge is power, and the more we know the more successful we become! That's why I'm sharing the knowledge I've obtained while obtaining my Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology with all of my clients, and now members of the JET Fitness Center. Most membership-based fitness center or gyms only share knowledge to members at the expense of hiring a personal trainer. We offer personal training, group classes, and even our renowned JETSTRONG Boot Camps, but feel for the ones who like to workout on their own, or who maybe can't afford training or classes. Obviously everyone comes to the gym striving to reach their goals. They deserve to reach their goals! You deserve to reach your goals! That's exactly why the slogan for the JET Fitness Center is "A gym where training's free! Because everyone DESERVES the tools to reach their goals." This is backed by myself developing a 52 week all-encompassing resistance training and cardio training program for all gym goers! If your goal is to lose weight or just be fit, I've taken all the guess work out of what to do while you're here. Now the only part a member has to focus on is walking through the doors!

Another part that’s unique to the JET Fitness Center is that we live off empowering and inspiring members to push themselves. To strive for their goals! We’ve created challenges such as the QUEST to EVEREST and the ROW to MEXICO where we place incentives for ALL our members after reaching these feats! Here’s the auto-reply email ever member gets after submitting a picture of the total feet they climbed. They’ll get this email every time! 1. It ensures them they’ve submitted their workout correctly and 2. We hope it helps motivate them to stay focus on reaching their goals:

“Subject Line: Keep on Climbing!
Way to go!!! Keep up the GREAT work!

This quest won't happen over night! Climbing to the top demands strength, it requires you to get back up and do it again; Day in and day out. Whether you're climbing to the top of Mount Everest, or "climbing" to the top of reaching your life-long goals. It's not easy, but once you're there it's WORTH it!

One step, one day, one workout at a time and before you know it you'll be exactly where you want to be. Exactly where you DESERVE to be!

It's not easy, but we say, "Dang it, it's worth it!" So keep pushing, keep climbing! DON'T GIVE UP ON YOUR GOALS! Don't give up on your climb!

We hope your next climb is as great as your last!


The JET Fitness Center Team ”
As you can see, we truly do strive to educate, motivate, inspire, and empower all our members to reach their full potential! This is the exact philosophy I created when forming Johnson’s Elite Training and still stand by it word for word to this day!

There's not a gym in the country or even world that offers what we're bringing to the fitness industry! We will be a franchised, nationally known Fitness Center within the next 10-15 years! We strive to change lives!
I'm just a small town kid from Iowa that's never been afraid of dreaming big. This goes back from when I was in grade school and wanted to play professional football. Wanting to be the first in my family to get a bachelors degree. This is one of my best traits! Today, I'm inspiring to change the fitness industry with what I feel like every fitness center or gym should be offering for their members.

Here's a little insight on me as a person with this trait to dream big. Once I set my mind to it, I never stop! I have a crazy ability to be resilient until my dreams becomes my reality! That's why I ended up playing professional football for a short stint. I went on to obtaining my Master's Degree; graduating with the Dean's Citation award and as the most outstanding student in the exercise physiology department. If I believe in something, I simply put every ounce I have into making it happen. I credit that to growing up in a small town atmosphere where we had to work for everything we had.

I have a vision like no one else in the Industry and just like every other small business, we’re trying to grow that vision and cause a great impact. An impact that's rooted right here in Iowa! Ultimately, the financial side of things are usually the limiting factor for those starting out. Although I was able to get enough start-up capital to get the fitness center up and running, I did so on a modest budget. To truly become the nationally known, industry leading fitness center, we have to keep growing to keep up with the demand.

If you remember, I started this all from a very small personal training business. I’ve been able to grow my training business over the past year and a half to be able to create a large following. That large following has jumped on board with the fitness center and in doing so has allowed to grow our membership base at a much faster pace than we anticipated! Did I mention we haven't even had a "Grand Opening" yet! We need to be able to add more equipment and other services sooner than later due to the high volume of members in order to keep everyone happy and hold more of a capacity.

So simply put, we need to be able to add more equipment to allow for further growth and keep current members happy. We need to start implementing some of our plans sooner than later. These are things we currently are unable to do right now due to using our start-up funds on getting the place up and running. This is why we’re applying for the DREAM BIG grow here grant. We’re doing exactly that! We’ve got a dream bigger than anyone we know and we’re starting it right here in Iowa!

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Monday Creations: Live, Build, and Grow in Iowa!

Michael Caraway
Monday Creations
Cedar Falls, IA
At Monday Creations, we embrace creativity to enhance digital experiences for your customers. We are a creative agency focused on beautiful design, ease of use, and brand strategy. We create these experiences on mediums ranging from websites, digital marketing, brand imaging, and digital products.

Let’s get down to business. Monday Creations offers a variety of creative services for small-medium sized service businesses. Our services include website creation, digital marketing, brand imaging, and digital product development. In short, we create websites, craft online brands, market brands online through mediums such as social media and SEO, create apps, kiosks, and many other digital devices. We also offer website hosting, website retainer fees, and educational videos for maintaining websites.


We were founded with the idea that we wanted to be a different kind of company. With this in mind, we took the steps to identify several key points of differentiation, all of which we will describe below.

Our first point of differentiation is what we deem ‘digital experiences’. There are hundreds of web design, branding, and marketing firms in Iowa. However, most of them are selling services to their clients. We take a different approach. We are selling ‘digital experiences’ for our client’s customers to experience firsthand. No matter what digital medium we approach, we make sure to keep the customer in mind, focusing on ease of use, clean design, and vital information.


We initially started our company with the idea that we wanted to help as many small businesses with their digital presence as possible. There was a definite shortage in this market. However, we quickly realized that this market doesn’t have the capital that we as a company required to stay afloat. So, we have shifted to a focus on small to medium sized service businesses that are lacking on the digital side of things. However, we have kept our heart with small ma and pa stores by finding one small business per month in which we offer a highly discounted rate for our services. We do this because we believe small businesses are crucial to community and economic development in many small towns and cities.

Building off that idea, we have really focused on our community. Throughout the process of starting our business, the community has always been there to support us in many ways. It is this support that has caused us to value the idea of giving back to the community. It has become a core principle for us at Monday Creations. We give back by being involved in the startup and small businesses community. We have planned several events such as Startup Weekend Cedar Falls and Cedar Valley Open Coffee, and have assisted with the Cedar Valley 1 Million Cups, BarCamp, and are in the beginning stages of creating a forum on creativity. All of these events are completely voluntary and are based around helping our community launch businesses. This is what we have done, but there are plans for much more in the future.

The last point of differentiation is the idea of keeping our clients brands in mind. Every day we see websites and social media created by an Iowa agency that aren’t done well, don’t communicate who the company is, and lack fundamental branding. We do just the opposite. We start out our partnership with clients by sitting down and interviewing them – making sure to record everything. We look into why they started the business, their personal and business values, and then dive into what the business does and how they are different. Ultimately, through this interview we search for the passion behind the business. We then head into our creative process in which we connect those value and passion with real world business objectives. It is this that causes us to effectively communicate a client’s brand, while still hitting business goals, through different digital mediums.


It is very hard to determine our competition at this point. Considering that we do business all around the Midwest, it is hard to nail down a main competitor. However, we can say that mid level digital marketing and branding agencies in the Midwest offer similar services to similar markets.
Our reasons for applying for Dream Big Grow Here are simple. Our company has a dream to live, grow, work, and create jobs in Iowa. We believe that Iowa is the best state in the U.S. and we want to continue making it an amazing place to live and work. As stated in the video, it has been quite a journey for us. Starting 1 year ago was rough, and it took a long time to gain credibility. That means we were doing projects for almost no money. Well, that is finally catching up to us. While we do have a lot of work coming in to our business, we lack the financial means to purchase equipment and hire employees to keep up with the current demand. We need to purchase additional software, computers, and we’re looking to hire on 2 employees by June. The Dream Big Grow Here money would assist us in “catching up” from the start and give us a great opportunity toward establishing a long-lasting company in the Cedar Valley. Your consideration in the Dream Big Grow Here would be very much appreciated. The Monday Creations team thanks you for the opportunity!

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Expand Our Website and Marketing Services for Small Businesses

Ethan Anderson
Big Imprint
West Liberty, IA
We build websites and provide online marketing services to small businesses and non-profits. We primarily serve a niche that is in between the do-it-yourselfer and a larger creative agency. We recently launched Friendly Sites™—our low-cost, high-value website platform.

Many small businesses need to get online for the first time. Or they have a website but it needs a facelift. The problem is that small businesses are cash-strapped and don’t want to invest a lot of money (at least initially) into a website. They also are extremely busy and many simply don’t have time (or desire) to learn how to build their own website.

This niche is currently being served primarily by two groups:

1) Local freelancers — which is great! But often doesn’t provide the stability that a business needs.

2) Huge companies — which tend to produce impersonal websites, and often use overly aggressive sales tactics.


We created a product called Friendly Sites™. Designed to look great on all devices, be incredibly easy to use, and affordable, it is not a website builder like Wix or Squarespace. It is our proprietary platform that we use to efficiently and quickly produce websites. We design and build the sites, and each one is customized to the client within the Friendly Sites™ framework.

Our target market is small businesses and non-profits that are ready for a professionally built and professionally managed website, but are not ready or able to invest a large sum of money into their online presence.

Friendly Sites™ has proven to be very popular, and is rapidly becoming our main source of revenue.


We also do a lot of larger projects with much higher budgets and more detailed requirements. As an example, we are proud to be the website provider for the Bug Soother® team. We built and maintain their e-commerce website, www.simplysoothing.net, and assist them with a range of marketing services.

Freda, the creator of Bug Soother®, always has kind words for our team. When we first launched the site she said, "That website just blew me away, the number of orders that came through there. We are so impressed with you.”

We love working with the Bug Soother® team and have a great partnership with them.


It’s exciting to be building a profitable company while filling a real need for small businesses.



Our website clients each pay a monthly fee for us to host and support their website. Our business model is based on both the initial setup fees for each website, as well as that monthly recurring revenue. After accounting for support costs and client churn, we see a robust and long-term revenue stream from this model.


We are building a loyal client base that continues to grow. The next step for our company is to work towards maximizing revenue by offering additional marketing services to the clients we already have. We plan to offer email marketing, paid advertising, consulting, and more advanced SEO. We are already offering these services to many of our clients and we see a lot of growth potential in this area. We need to add capacity to build up this part of our business.

We are currently a four-person team (two full-time and two part-time). We also have a roster of go-to designers and builders that we work with regularly on a project-by-project basis.
As a service-based business, our main resources are human resources. Just like a manufacturing company needs machinery and raw materials—we need people! Our clients are actively asking us for more help with their marketing, and we see a lot of growth potential in this area so we are “staffing up” to meet the demand.

With the award money we will make one simple but significant change. We are currently hiring for a Marketing Specialist as a part-time position. We want to make this position full-time immediately, and the money will help us bridge the gap between the work that we already have lined up for this position and the work that is on the way.

Cash flow is the key to any small business, and the money will free up this new team member to spend time building up this part of the business in advance of the revenue that his/her role will generate.


Owners Ethan & Bethany receiving the West Liberty Chamber of Commerce Betterment Award for buying and renovating a downtown building and moving the company office into it

Gabe, our web design intern

Bug Soother® website

Invitation to our ribbon cutting and office warming party

Gilad, our web developer, donating blood (which we do regularly as a team!)

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Igniting Unlimited Potential in Women Business Owners

Heather Marquez
Mind Links, LLC.
Waterloo, IA
My dream is to positively impact the success of women business owners in Iowa initially and then around the country by helping them identify their purpose, clarify their vision, and unleash their potential so they can turn chaos into order and become the women of influence they are meant to be.
I am a leadership coach, speaker, and trainer certified by the John Maxwell Team. I specialize in helping women in business build confidence and collaboration in a growth focused environment with a focus on one to one coaching. According to the 2014 Executive Coaches Survey, leadership development has been rated as the top reason executives seek a coach. Due to this, my affiliation with the world's #1 leadership expert gives me a unique advantage over my competition. According to Inc. Magazine, John Maxwell has been ranked as the World’s Top Expert on Leadership.


I am also the only Think Buzan Licensed instructor for Mind Mapping, trained by Nobel Prize nominee and creator of Mind Mapping, Tony Buzan, in Iowa and one of a handful in the United States. Mind Mapping is a process based on the science of how the brain processes information, to promote creativity, innovation, planning, and memory. I use this tool to expand the thinking abilities of my clients, revealing to them opportunities and solutions that help them drive results to a new level. This tool also provides a methodology to work with teams to create strategic plans, SWOT analysis, and various other business process applications.

Adding these two certifications to my experience of over 20 years in leadership and 10 years in executive training provides me with the tools to help others facing the same obstacles I faced early in my career as a young woman in business. My first experience in a leadership position happened in a trial by fire type of situation while on the job as a 16 year old working in retail. I spent over half of my career as a leader in a male dominate field, lacking a strong, female role model and mentor that understood the power of collaboration. Finding that person was a game changer for me. I look back at the challenges I faced prior to that and realize that many of them could have either been avoided all together or at the very least minimized much more quickly. I am now driven to help others fast track their results in a confidential, supportive and collaborative way that builds confidence and influence for the individual and their team.

My primary source of funding is coaching clients and training events. I utilize public speaking as a method to create awareness about what I do, as well as various forms of marketing which include social media, print media, and workshops. I am also highly involved in several networking groups, professional organizations, and the Cedar Valley Chamber and Alliance. These groups include:

• Cedar Valley Networking
• Cedar Valley Open Coffee
• Cedar Valley VIEW: Visionary Entrepreneurial Women (founding member)
• National Association of Professional Women (NAPW)
• Association for Talent Development International
• Association for Talent Development Hawkeye Chapter (VP of Marketing and Communications)
• International Coaching Federation of Iowa
• Cedar Valley Polka Dot Powerhouse (leadership team)
• Cedar Valley Young Professionals
• Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber
• Ascent

My affiliation with these groups puts me in a position to have a strong impact on leadership in my community and throughout Iowa.

My market is currently based in Iowa, but will be expanding over the next 12 months to connect with clients throughout the United States through the implementation of several direct response marketing techniques, conferences, and national events for the professional organizations I am affiliated with. The difference between good and great is leadership effectiveness. I am dedicated to helping women succeed in creating a life they love by operating a business they are proud of in a manner that supports balance and intentionality.

“The year prior to hiring Heather my life was in a bit of disarray. Although I was high functioning, my days left me exhausted, frustrated and full of anxiety. I knew I needed someone in my corner to lead me in the right direction, someone I could confide in, and that would be on my side. Heather helped me discover how to get things organized in a way that was right for me, helped me identify boundaries (or as I call them promises). By identifying the things in my life that no longer served me it left me with more energy to accomplish money producing activities. My relationships with clients, friends, and my husband are much sweeter. After 7 weeks with Heather I have exceeded my clientele by 150% at least! I would encourage anyone looking to streamline their business and or get clarity call upon Heather Marquez.”
- Marguerite Pircer, CRS, GRI, ABR
Century 21 LSB Real Estate
I am applying for the grant to help fund a large leadership event that I will be hosting in October called L2: Cedar Valley (Ready to LEARN, Ready to LEAD). It is a half day simulcast featuring John C. Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni and one other guest speaker to be announced. The rest of the day includes a VIP networking luncheon and workshop. The goal of the event is to ignite the leadership potential of my community and give my company increased exposure in the area, while creating connections for small business owners. This in turn will allow me to reach a wider variety of clients and raise my level of influence as a thought leader.

The grant would be used toward event expenses that would include licensing fees and marketing. The support with expenses would allow me to reduce the cost of the sponsorship packages, making them more affordable to the average small business owner. That would contribute towards showcasing an increased number of women owned businesses during the networking section of the event.

Last year, 75% of the sponsors were women owned businesses, with each of them having an exhibit to highlight their products and services as well as direct contact with each of the attendees and inclusion in the marketing, networking and workshop activities.

Women owned businesses contribute $3 trillion annual in the U.S. and are responsible for over 23 million jobs according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. They are also projecting that by 2018, women owned small businesses will be responsible for creating one third of the new jobs in the U.S. Imagine the impact we could have on our economy in Iowa if we were to catch up to the national average by putting resources in place to support the current and newly created businesses owned by this important demographic throughout the state.

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Use technology to create spaces scientifically engineered, artfully designed with measurable results

mary segriff
cedar rapids, IA
For 10 years kor’s clients have benefited from rigorous research-based methodology and innovative designs resulting in workplace solutions with measurable results. Marrying this process with technological advances will catapult this process allowing for quicker, more accurate data for our clients.
“Designing facilities from the inside out”

kôr is a solutions driven design firm with a unique approach to helping our clients align their facilities plan with their business plan. We are skilled at identifying the facility needs of an organization and customizing design solutions for every client, resulting in facilities that support and promote desired outcomes.

kôr began business in Cedar Rapids, IA in July 2004 and is owned by Mary Piazzon Segriff and Leslie Heitman. We are an Iowa Targeted Small Business, a women owned business and are active members of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), the nation’s leading advocate of women owned businesses as suppliers to America’s corporations. We were a recipient of 2008 Corridor Business Fastest Growing Companies.

Through innovative design solutions and the proper application of furniture and products, the workplace should be a revenue-enhancing asset that can be leveraged to help a company improve performance and achieve its goals. The workplace must support the work processes. Employees need the right tool for the job. This is done through rigorous research-based design and workplace analysis involving both quantitative and qualitative data gathering.
1. Take advantage of technology...We want to team with a technology partner to possibly develop software and/or devices to collect and analyze data, monitor how employees interact with their environment to improve our solutions.

2.Marketing... To benefit our clients the most we need to be involved very early in the process...not when they are making furniture decisions, which is where we are currently viewed.

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Come Alive Quad Cities

Karen McCoy
Choice Home Health Care, Inc.
Bettendorf, IA
Choice Home Health Care, Inc. strives to be the premiere provider of in home care to people struggling with memory loss and/or Alzheimer’s, by incorporating non-invasive, cutting edge and simple therapies such as; Music & Memory into the plan of care.
Choice Home Health Care, Inc. (CHHC) is a for-profit home health care agency in Bettendorf, Iowa. We opened our doors in April of 2014, we are locally owned and operated. Our service area includes the Quad Cities, population 471,551 with median age of 40.5. Our owners and senior management team bring over 50 years of health care experience to the table and are passionate about the power of home care. Home health is one of the fastest growing small businesses in the United States. According to Harris and Williams Company (2014), “Home health is poised for continued growth as the population of people over 65 years old is expected to expand by over 40% by 2020, as the baby boomer generation ages.

CHHC, is leading our competitors in nontraditional care services, we offer a line of personalized services we call “Boutique”. The word boutique has come a long way from its connection with the spa and garment industry. Today, it is used to promote various health care services that provide a high level of personalized attention to customers’ needs. Common reasons for boutique services include: memory care, after surgical care (plastic surgery, cataract surgery or orthopedic surgery), post birth in home care for Mom and baby and Chronic Disease Education.
We became passionate about memory care when our first dementia patient touched our hearts. In researching in home care resources it quickly became clear that the Quad Cities was lacking specialized in home care for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. In partnership with our local Alzheimer’s Association we developed a focused program for our own dementia patients which includes targeted training for the care givers and education and resources for the families.

From a revenue standpoint, participating in the program will allow CHHC to obtain more referrals. Alzheimer patients generally have a number of other needs with their healthcare. CHHC will be able to provide care to service those needs, which will increase revenue. It is expected that, with the number of patients that will use the program, CHHC will get 4 referrals per month for other services. Based on the average number of hours that we are currently providing care per patient, this will increase weekly billable hours by 76 hours. This amounts to approximately $80,000 in revenue per year, from just this referral source. It is anticipated that the marketing associated with this will generate patients that don’t participate in the program, but hear about CHHC through it. Overall, CHHC expects to see an increase in revenue of $100,000 per year from participating in the program because it will help differentiate us from other home health providers in the Quad Cities. We feel that it is important to be able to provide unique services to patients to find new revenue streams. This program is a win for the community and a win for CHHC. The revenue generate from the referrals that the program will feed to us will more than sustain it moving forward and also increase net profitability for CHHC.

Resources and references: http://www.AliveInside.com, http://www.alz.org
Choice Home Health Care, Inc. (CHHC) wants to bring the healing power of music to Alzheimer’s patients in the Quad Cities, using a cutting edge but simple program called Music & Memory created by Dan Cohen. Music has been scientifically proven to unlock the memory of patients with memory loss. Musical memory is profoundly linked to emotions. These memories are stored deep in the brain. While Alzheimer’s damages the ability to recall facts and details, it does not destroy these lasting connections between a favorite song and memory of an important life event. When individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia hear a melody connected with a meaningful memory, they are literally reawakened. Music has shown to decrease Sundowners, calm agitation, relieve anxiety, increase engagement in social activities, feeling energized and many regain their ability to converse and connect with those around them (even if it only for a few hours). Nothing including medication has had this big of an impact on the Alzheimer’s patient. The Music & Memory program can grant many patients the gift of living in the home longer by allowing them to reconnect to family, caregivers and friends through the memory of emotions. The program is simple; a trained music and memory specialist with CHHC will interview the patient and their loved ones and develop a personalized playlist based on favorite music, life experience and era.

CHHC has partnered with our local Alzheimer’s Association to spread this program. By partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association, CHHC will be working with the prominent group supporting Alzheimer’s patients in the Quad Cities. We believe this connection will give us a competitive business advantage that no other home health care organization has. This will allow CHHC to be the premier referral source for Alzheimer’s in the Quad Cities, which gives us a competitive advantage over those trying to enter the market. It is our view that this limits competitive threats with similar programs. Currently no one in the community is providing a similar program to this.

If CHHC is the winner of the Dream Big, Grow Here grant funds we would use the $5,000 or $10,000 dollars for the following:
• Become a certified Music & Memory facility $1,000 (Staff training and materials) . Provide iPods and headphones free to any patient in need, provide staff to create playlists and teach caregivers and nursing home personnel how to properly administer the program.
• Purchase a copy of the “Alive Inside” documentary and gain approval to arrange a community showing to raise awareness of the power of music. $1500
• Purchase music and teaching materials from Alzheimer’s Music Connect. They provide a variety of CD’s with music tailored to each generation and almost any genera. They also provide teaching aids, which CHHC will use with their care givers. $300
• Support the purchase of iPod’s and head phones for distribution to our patients, local nursing homes and memory care units. $500
• Last but not least we will create and implement a marketing strategy which positions CHHC as the only home health care agency in the Quad Cities, specializing in at home Alzheimer’s care. The marketing strategy includes contracting with an advertising agency to develop a media blitz, marketing materials and social media campaign. Furthermore, we would use a portion of the funding to create support groups and materials for care givers of Alzheimer’s patients. Base cost $2,000 and depending on the services requested can be as much as $5,000.

Alzheimer’s the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. What is unique about Alzheimer’s is it’s the only top 10 cause of death without a way to prevent, cure or even slow the progression. Additionally, it has the lowest number of dollars spent on research. According to "National Institutes Of Health” (2014), “The amount spent on the major diseases includes over $6 billion a year on cancer research, over $4 billion on heart disease research and over $3 billion on HIV/AIDS research. But it spends only $480 million on Alzheimer's research. This has to change (Cost of Care). According to the “Alzheimer’s Association” (2010), “From 2010 to 2050, the total costs of care for Americans age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease will increase five-fold, from $172 billion to $1.08 trillion per year. These dollar amounts represent the direct costs of care to all types of payers, including insurance companies, families” (Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer's disease). Nothing has inspired us more and we feel strongly that many persons struggling with memory loss and their care givers will benefit greatly from this program while increasing revenue and profitability for CHHC and allowing our business to grow and meet the goals that we had when we started.

Resources and references: http://www.AliveInside.com, http://www.alz.org, Michael Rossato-Bennett and Dan Cohen.

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Well Fit Experience: A fun way to create healthy & active lifestyle changes.

Lindsay Frazier
Well Fit Experience
Muscatine, IA
We are a one size fits all studio; we are there to personalize workout programs for you that work for your body and lifestyle. Creating accountability plans to keep you motivated to reach short and long term goals.
We do not just offer a place to come work out. We are professional training coaches that teach you the effective way to exercise; creating results and eliminating injury. When you are a member of Well Fit, your membership comes with unlimited fun, upbeat, group fitness classes along with one-on-one personal wellness coaching included. We help figure out the most effective way to help you reach short term goals that will in turn help you reach long term goals and then sustain those goals. We are here to encourage you, support you, help you grow, and help you sustain your lifestyle changes. We create accountability plans so if you are not coming, we will contact you and make sure you are not falling short on making your goals! It is easy to get motivated, but staying motivated is the key. That is where we come to help.
We are a business that is continuously growing and changing and we have a lot of ideas to keep our business growing. We have been in business for 5 months and have not reached the point of breaking even yet. We want to stay in business and continue to offer all of our classes at the convenient times we have them. We would like to add in a nutrition bar, which we have started to make in our extra room but ran out of money to continue. The nutrition bar will have healthy meal replacements and hydrating refreshments. We are located in a building downtown Muscatine, Iowa that is almost 100 years old. This building has a lot of leaking problems and uneven flooring that our members complain about. We have a room full of spin bikes, but the cost of maintenance is a lot more than we thought. We would like to add extra equipment and fun new fitness classes that require training certifications. We would use the grant money to help pay for more certifications so we can continue to offer fun classes that keep people interested so they do not get bored with their fitness routine. We want to add classes like anti gravity yoga, kick boxing, and piloxing in the near future! Our building was a good place to start but we would eventually like to have a location that is nice, clean, and not falling apart. Being able to afford to add on extra staff would be something we want to do soon. Lindsay is the main instructor teaching 5-8 classes per day! Also doing personal training and weekly wellness evaluations with the 50 members we have so far! It will take us at least 100 members to break even. We know adding in a nutrition bar will help our income because we will sell healthy meal replacements like shakes and smoothies. Our members have been begging us for it! We just do not have the money to finish the back room to add a kitchenette.

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International Growth in Entertainment Bookings

Shantel Dow
Dow Artists, Inc.
Russell, IA
Dow Artists, Inc. is a fine arts entertainment booking agency enhancing the quality of life for thousands of people each year across the country. My dream is to expand my agency to include international bookings for my performers.
My agency celebrated ten years as an Iowa business in 2014. My business is one of the purest forms of economic development in Iowa as more than ninety percent of my revenues come from outside of the state of Iowa. Gross revenues in the United States from performing arts presenters is $8.7 billion dollars annually. This is a unique business due to the fact that most of the performing artist booking agencies reside in highly populated areas such as New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. I have found success in this business while living in rural southern Iowa and working from my home with a view of rolling hills, trees and farm ponds. I travel each year to major cities to attend conferences and trade shows to promote my performers and attract buyers from all over the United States and a few internationally based buyers. Potential buyers are also contacted via phone calls and emails. My income is based solely on commissions from my bookings. I have been successful over the past ten years and have grown to hire independent contractors to assist with bookings and our value-added service of grant writing. When I started my agency, I had five years of experience as a booking agent for a band based in Dallas, TX. I enjoyed the work and was very successful but had the desire to start my own agency so that I could represent many more performing groups. It is a very competitive market so I wanted to find a unique offering to attract attention to my agency. Since I had over twenty years of experience grant writing for the arts, I offered free grant writing for any venue that booked an artist from my roster. This was very popular and helped to establish myself in this highly competitive market. I now have a grant writer that is contracted and we now charge a minimal amount for this service. At the largest international performing arts booking conference in the world, held in New York City each year, there are over three hundred booking agencies attending with more than fifteen hundred artists represented. It is quite a competitive market. I continue to establish relationships with buyers from performing arts centers, festivals, corporations and others that look for performing arts entertainment. This is done through attendance at conferences and through email, social media, marketing, phone calling and personal visits. I continue to look for income growth opportunities by adding more artists to my roster and booking more performances.
My business plan includes expanding to attend more international conferences to promote growth with international bookings. There is a "Pan-Asia" conference each year that takes place in Asia moving locations each year. The Asian market is a great potential for my artists as their audiences gravitate to American music. My roster always includes traditional American music such as jazz and pop. The artists on my roster range in price from $2,500 - $15,000 per show. Commission for my work is 20% of the negotiated gross fee. There is great potential to make a significant income in this business with hard work and creating solid business relationships with the buyers. As relationships are key to establishing long-term booking potential with a venue, I would also like to expand my business by offering an informational breakfast or dinner for potential buyers so that I can personally introduce my roster of artists in a captive setting. I would like to do this at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference in January 2016 where there are many international presenters. Free food is always a great way to build an audience. This will be by invitation only. I consider this a great marketing tool, which was suggested by my regional Small Business Development specialist, Bryan Ziegler.
I am applying as I feel this is a great program to help Iowa small business entrepreneurs and I can use the help to expand my business. The money will be used to help me expand and have a presence in international markets. This has been a business priority since early 2014 when I received an Iowa Economic Development Authority grant to expand in international markets by attending an international conference. This helped me to begin my quest and I have since booked my artists in three countries outside of the United States. I would like to continue this expansion as it will help my business to grow and bring some outside money into the state of Iowa. I will plan to attend more international conferences to promote my artists and print information in Spanish, Chinese and Arabic as these are the most likely areas for international expansion in my field. The money would also be used for additional marketing purposes by offering an informational breakfast to buyers at the largest international booking conference in the world, APAP, in January 2016. The plan is to invite twenty five international buyers and have one of my artists provide entertainment with a complimentary breakfast. Both verbal and written materials on my artists would be presented.

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Disability is Real! Iowa NEEDS a Disability Advocate

Sherry Kiskunas
Disability Connections LLC
Waterloo, IA
My dream is to expand my existing business to offer services to rural parts of Iowa that are under-represented. I want to employ more local people to a full staff, provide benefits and offer employees that are interested in the Disability Representation business the ability to do so.
Applying for Social Security benefits can be an intimidating process and most people are denied because of insufficient evidence or not understanding the forms and they become discouraged and give up. That is what the Social Security Administration is counting on, that the person will just go away.My company is unique in that we provide one-on-one services but we are only two to three people with a case load of over 50 clients. We are not the "attorney-type" firm with shockingly high hourly rates, we know who you are and what we need to do to win the case the right way, the first time without the large over-head of fancy offices and too many employees. We are also competing with the nation-wide firms with unlimited resources who will take your name, phone number and your impairments and unless your impairments are so bad that the client meets a listing (very few do), your case will sit until the Administrative Law Judge level so that these firms can make more money. That can take years! They don't care that the client is homeless, without insurance or on the verge of losing everything the they have. We have social service access through out Northeast Iowa, places and people that we know can help those in need. We work with social service people that we know by name and face. We work with doctors by asking questions and demanding results to get our clients the medical help that they would not have received otherwise. As the owner, I know what our clients are going through because I am disabled myself but I also won my own social security claim. That does not make me an expert but our firm's track record speaks for itself. Our firm will make increased revenue by creating volume which will require marketing ourselves to our communities throughout this area that currently do not have access to a professional who has a specialized skill set for dealing with the Social Security Administration. Most people don't know that not every attorney specializes in Social Security. There is only one attorney in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area that does specialize in Social Security but it will cost you.an attorney who they think is working tirelessly for them. That is not the case. Currently our market has clients from Mason City to Dubuque to Cedar Rapids/Iowa City. We have handled, successfully, two clients from Des Moines. We currently have a 95% success rate! We need to grow as a company to market to areas that have been untapped, our rural communities that we have been unable to reach at this time, organizations in those communities that don't know who we are or what we do. Our success rate is very high but we need to quadruple our client base to make our business prosperous! Representing clients is a time consuming, low profit margin business. This means that we do more with less. We need to stay productive and utilize time management skills. Marketing and adding to an efficient office staff is key for the continued success of this company.
I am applying for the DreamBigGrowHere contest to use $5000.00 to apply for loans or grants through the Targeted Small Business program, which I am already approved for but cannot afford the 5% down payment, and the Small Business Association to obtain a business loan. The grant could also be used for the money needed to get a business loan that will continue to grow and create two more support staff, required testing for the Social Security Administration's "Non-Attorney" qualifications, office space, and marketing. We have a good foundation but we need to build on it!

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Future Technology in Audio Services

Joshua Jacobsen
Forte Studios
Boone, IA
A carefully crafted and designed audio environment specializing in recording, mixing and mastering. Bands, musicians, rappers and soloists benefit from passionate service. In addition, we offer value oriented audio converting and evidence forensic services to legal firms and client
We work hard to do it right the first time. For this reason, we have gradually and responsibly saved money to build the environment and purchase the equipment. Certainly, this is a slower growth process, but we believe that reputation is the key in a service oriented business. Our approach has given us local recognition by being named the 2013 Boone Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year and winner of the Iowa Micro Loan and Boone Future business plan competition.

Iowa has talented musicians who need radio worthy sound and a product that they can sell. We provide a high level of quality that is rarely found in the Midwest.

Our niche in the audio forensics industry is one of the first of its kind in the state. An internet search or a review of www.legaldirectories.com will reveal the average person has little ability to get audio forensic services, unless it is done through the government labs. We are one of the first to privatize this service and offer an unbiased third party perspective.
Growth and maintaining our assets is the key to our long term commitment in sustaining the business. We have nearly completed construction with the exception of a patched roof. We recognize that roof needs to be replaced and each spring we continue to patch it with hopes that it will prevent damage to our interior. This money will be used to put a new roof on the building. Any additional funds will be used to purchase a touch screen digital console that allows our engineer to work faster and with more efficiency with the use of batch plugin technology. We would be one of the first studios in the midwest to employ this type of efficient mixing technology and this would assist in our growth and retention of profits.

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Paying it forward

Ini Augustine
SocialWise Media Group
West Des Moines, IA
My dream is to hire at low income college students to help grow my interactive marketing company. After overcoming my own challenges, I want to help make sure our students have the technical skills to be successful.
SocialWise Media Group helps businesses generate more sales, and stronger customer relationships. Located in the West Des Moines Business Incubator, we are a full service digital agency. Even though we are a single owner business, I was honored to create marketing strategies for Operation Outreach, Iowa's successful Obamacare education program. Our CEO, Ini Augustine, is this years recipient of the Rising Star Award, Women of Innovation, from The Technology Association of Iowa. She is also a DMACC Alum, and 2013 Aspiring Business Woman of the Year for NAWBO Iowa.
I want to use this money to pay the salaries of interns. I want to provide real life learning and networking for low income college students, while getting much needed help in growing my company. I've been helped so much by mentors provided to me by NAWBO Iowa, and the Technology Association of Iowa, so I want to pay it forward.

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small local mechanics shop

Reed Feierstein
R&J; Service
Cherokee, IA
we are a family owned mechanic shop in Cherokee Iowa we work on anything with an engine and love doing it. My son and I have been dreaming of this day for a long time
I think we are unique because we are just looking to make a living like everybody else we are small so have more time to take care of our customers needs. We will make money by fixing our customers vehicles fast and efficent. There is other mechanic shops in my town but they are big companies and I feel like I can give them better customer service.
Im appling because we have been open a month and the building we have needs some repairs that would make our job better to do like repairing and replacing 2 of our lifts since we only have 1 that works right now and we could use some bigger tools such as a generator to do service calls easier and it would be nice to have a newer tire machine and balancer we have them now but they are older ones

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Grow and maintain a law office based on professionalism, quality service, and strong values

Lindsey Buchheit
Buchheit Law, PLC
Sergeant Bluff, IA
Lindsey Buchheit founded Buchheit Law in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa in June, 2013. Since then, Buchheit Law has hired a full-time legal assistant and paralegal, as well as constructed a new building. The firm's success stems from its professional commitment to clients and serving the public at large.
Buchheit Law is unique in that it is a small law office which has had enormous success in less than two years. The reason for its success is our commitment to honest & straightforward advice, quality service, and strong communication and compassion towards our clients. Attorney Buchheit focuses her practice on what she knows and loves: estate planning and probate; family law; and general business. Because the firm is committed to these select areas of the law, it allows us to grow our experience and skills quicker than a general practice firm. The three women working in our office are as down-to-earth and hardworking as they come. We have a great team, and although small, we have tremendous respect for each other and a strong desire to continue to improve, serve our clients, and educate the public.
Buchheit Law is applying for this contest because we never stop dreaming! The success our office has experienced in a short amount of time confirms that hard, honest work pays off, even in the legal field where attorneys often get a negative rapport. The legal profession is truly a service profession, and our business model has allowed us to have close, meaningful relationships with our clients which is the best reward an attorney can hope for. If our law office wins this award, we will donate a small portion of the money to a local charity, and use the rest of the money to attend a national estate planning conference, and host a series of luncheons for clients and members of the public interested in estate planning, family law, and business issues.

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To expand my Business

Carey Cowell
Duane's Barber Shop
Denver, IA
I own and run a Barber Shop in the small Community of Denver, Iowa. I bought the business from a gentleman named Duane Harms who had owned it and practiced Barbering for forty-nine years. I have lived in the community for most of my life only moving away for a few short years for college.
I bought Duane’s Barber Shop in 2011, I am working on a Three Phase plan to grow my business. I have been making money by Barbering in the shop. I started by just helping men in their hair, beard, and neck shave needs and have since expanded to woman, and children. Providing coloring, highlighting, perms, waxing, and styles for weddings. In our small town there are five salons/barber shops, it can make for a lot of competition, I am however very dedicated to keeping to the “Walk-In” options, men and women can walk right in and sit down for a haircut. My goal will be to always allow that, I plan to keep that goal by adding barbers when I have become too busy to be open for walk ins. The other salons and shops have been so well established for so long that they are too busy to accommodate the walk in clientele. I have kept my prices very reasonable and possible below the other shops in town. I think I am unique because I have tried different ways to honor respect and help those in need or charities. After only being open for a month I offered one day in October for all services to be donated to Breast Cancer I was able to donate one hundred and fifty dollars!! I was a little proud of that. Two years ago during our communities Christmas Celebrations I held two one hour sessions on how to braid hair. It went over well and has been requested a few times to have another. This last year to honor our Veterans I offered a free haircut to those that served our country or are currently serving. I hoped it was a way to show my thanks for their service and if funds were a little short for them they would look nice for Thanksgiving. Plus I learned a little history about my customers and was able to meet new ones. I hope in 2015 I will do all these special events and more! I also find the name of my shop a unique point. The name and neon sign reads Duane’s Barber Shop, and I love to see the surprised faces and questions that come when customers walk in and see a girl standing at the chair ready to greet them, along with the inevitable question, “ Please tell me you name is not Duane….. Is it?” It always makes me smile.
I am applying for the grant to continue my Three Phase plan. I am currently in Phase Two of the three. Let me explain.
Phase One: Open a shop with financial help that I can run and take care of on my own. I have accomplished this step.
Phase Two: Have a three year consecutive increase in revenue and build clientele for the need to remodel and add a second barber. I am currently working toward that goal. I would like the business loan I acquired for the original start up to be paid off before I start remodeling for a second barber. The grant money would go to some of those expenses along with increasing my advertising budget to reach out to other communities so I can bring in more clientele to help boost and support my and a second Barber’s business. I hope to fully accomplish this goal in a five year window from opening the doors. I am currently in year three of business. So I have two years to meet this goal.
Phase Three: This is a five year goal also which is to continue growth to have a third barber to take over my chair at my current location and open a second shop in another community. Then start the process again until possible a third shop could open. You may notice that barber shops are few and far between and I hope to remedy that so men, women, and children can go to a barber shop walk in or make an appointment and receive the same haircut from the same barber every time. In a shop they can count on being there for years to come!

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Caitlin Argotsinger LLC Vintage Inspired Weddings and Events. It's your day. Make it delightful.

Caitlin Argotsinger
Caitlin Argotsinger LLC
Cedar Falls, IA
Caitlin Argotsinger LLC offers decorations, planning, floral arranging, stationary design, and rentals for weddings and events in the Cedar Valley and surrounding areas. It offers a unique style made personal and memorable for each client with package options to fit their needs.
Caitlin Argtosinger LLC is a “vintage inspired” wedding and event decorating service. This business offers a wide range of décor options, planning services, floral arranging, stationary design, and rentals.

Caitlin Argotsinger LLC earns a profit by offering all above services listed at an hourly labor rate. It also offers all décor at a price per item charge. The amount is estimated and agreed upon before services commence with the client. The invoice is billed to the clients upon completion of services.

A wedding or event decorator such as Caitlin Argotsinger LLC is generally hired by couples getting married or people planning events such as anniversaries, retirement parties, showers etc. so that they can save time, money, and stress. With the assistance provided by the services, clients do not have to use their time to plan, design, deliver items, decorate, and un-decorate. It also saves people the cost of investing in store bought décor they will only use once and the space to store these items. When a client uses the services offered by Caitlin Argotsinger LLC, they have more time to spend with loved ones and guests on the day of their wedding or event. They have the peace of mind that it will be unique, stress-free, beautiful, and memorable.

The direct competition Caitlin Argotsinger LLC faces in the Cedar Valley are large event and planning companies as well as large rental services. Indirectly competition includes the do-it-yourself (DIY) type of clients who wish to decorate all on their own. The services offered by Caitlin Argotsinger LLC will thrive in this market because of the authentic, one-of-a-kind decorations that have been collected as well as the collaborative relationship made with the client. The DIY clients will still be able to have their hand in creating their own beautiful day but without the stress of set up and tear down.

Caitlin Argotsinger LLC’s target market is the 20-35 age range of engaged couples for weddings, and a broad spectrum of clients for events. It more specifically appeals to those who are artistic, who like to do some parts of the planning themselves, who appreciate the past, who enjoy the style of vintage décor, who have the desire to re-purpose items, who have an interest in making their event meaningful, and who have an interest in keeping as much local business as possible.

A brief personal story from the owner about how Caitlin Argotsinger LLC came to be, also explains its uniqueness.

When my husband and I got married, we wanted our wedding to represent us. We wanted to show our guests who we are as a couple, what our values are, and to make sure they remembered those things about us when they were gone. We had the following goals:

1. To create no waste
2. To source all of the food at our wedding reception locally
3. To make sure no decorations were purchased new

We were fortunate enough to figure out solutions to the first two without a problem, but we struggled to find help with number 3. The decorations.

We decided to do it all ourselves. In doing so, we invested a lot of time and money into the decorations and gave up a very large amount of space in our home. We were really happy with the outcome, everything we purchased and collected was re-purposed from second hand stores, antique stores, estate sales etc., but we were then left with a lot of decorations, and no place to put them.

Soon afterwards however, people began to ask for my help decorating their weddings and events, and wanting to rent the things we had. I decided when we moved to Cedar Falls and made permanent residence here to start my own business doing just that.

Today, not only is the “vintage” look sometimes referred to as “rustic chic,” very popular but it isn’t a trend that is forecasted to disappear like a fad. It’s an heirloom style that only becomes more appreciated and rare as time moves on. Caitlin Argotsinger LLC will not limit itself to this one style, it will try to meet the needs of the client no matter the style of wedding or event desired with the conscious effort to do it in the most sustainable way possible.
The first mission of Caitlin Argotsinger LLC is to provide the most professional, effective, and efficient services possible. The aim of the business is to make the wedding or event not only meet the aesthetic desires of the client, but to take the extra steps to ensure that it reflects the clients for who they are, what they are about, and what they want their guests to remember about them that day. The goal is to provide a unique solution to decorating a venue, and to do whatever it takes to make the client happy and stress free during the time leading up to and on the day of their event.

The second mission of Caitlin Argotsinger LLC is to integrate itself into the community and to not only be a sustainable part of the local economy, but to grow along with other small local businesses. This will be achieved by building relationships with local food growers, farmers, caterers, and dessert makers to help clients find the freshest, most local food for their guests at their event. It also means having relationships with local musicians, graphic designers, printers, photographers, videographers, venues, hotels, bed and breakfasts, transportation services, flower shops, dress and tuxedo shops, rental companies, and more to be able to help the client find local options they need for their event. By doing this I hope to not only receive recommendations from those business to acquire clients, but also to recommend them to help ensure that we are all successful. Small, local businesses are the most important, most sustainable part of this community and I would like to be a part of this for many years to come.

I am applying for the Dream Big Grow Here grant because I want to invest in my business so that it can grow, and also invest in the community so that I can grow along with it.

I’ve saved money (but not time) doing as much as I can myself including setting up my own website, managing my own marketing and social media, launching my business, and learning all of the intricacies of accounting and taxes.

I do not have more funds however to move forward with ventures such as a flower garden for my flower arrangements, transportation that will easily get my decorations and myself to and from events, an organized storage and working space such as a storage unit or a garage, essential tools, needed decorations, etc. I plan on using the grant money for these costs and any other costs that I find myself prohibited by to grow this business because of lack of capital.

I appreciate all of the time and consideration by all of those involved in the Dream Big Grow Here organization and want to thank you all for what you do. You make dreams possible and communities better for it.

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From (im)Perfect Parenting to Purposeful Parenting

Tabby Hinderaker
Purposeful Growth
Waukee, IA
There are no perfect parents. We're going to make mistakes. And when we do, we need to show ourselves (and each other) compassion. *Purposeful* parenting embraces imperfection, builds upon our strengths and integrates our core values.
I launched my life coaching and facilitation business in March, 2013. The mission of Purposeful Growth, LLC is to cultivate personal growth in myself and others through connection and community. I provide coaching, facilitation, resources, and tools to help people increase their self-awareness, clarify their strengths, core values and priorities, and use this higher self-awareness to determine what they really want their life to look like, feel like, and be like. As they take inspired action toward the vision they have for their ideal life, they find moments of true happiness that so many of us are seeking.

Coaching helps people identify their best self. As they increase their self-awareness, they are able to think more clearly, see new and different options, and make more informed and intentional decisions. Through the coaching process, they identify and then let go of old ways of thinking and old behaviors that get in their way. They become more of who they were meant to be.

My clients don't come to me for help with their relationships, but through the coaching process, some of them have strengthened relationships with people in their life as an unexpected benefit. As they learn more about their own values, priorities, and needs, they naturally become curious about the values and priorities of their spouse or significant other. They open new lines of communication with the most important people in their life and as a result, they end up strengthening their relationships and increasing overall satisfaction with their life.
As career-loving parents, it can be hard to balance our time and energy between professional and family commitments. We cram our calendar full, manage our household like a project, and sprint from one commitment to the next. We strive for perfection in all that we do, and are much happier when we are in control....which means we don't delegate and try to do too much ourselves. We set high expectations and high standards for ourselves, our spouse, and our kids. When things don't go as expected, we may be overly critical of ourselves or of others. We fear failure and ruminate on our mistakes. We wake up one day wondering why we feel so scattered, stressed, and exhausted. We love our family dearly, but for some reason, we feel alone and dissatisfied with our life.

I'm speaking from experience.... I used to have a checklist for everything: work projects, home projects, and even vacations. There was always one more task to do. I didn’t know how to rest, I couldn’t relax, and I couldn’t stand being “bored.” I wanted to be perfect in every aspect of my life: the perfect professional, the perfect friend, and more recently, the perfect parent. I feared failure and when I made a mistake, I beat myself up for it. Worrying about something I said to someone, or something I forgot to do earlier that day would keep me up for hours at night. I pushed myself and others too hard. My desire for perfection and control, coupled with my achievement mindset, have created stress and strain in my relationships for years.

Becoming a mother in 2011 was literally life-changing for me. During the four months I spent at home with my daughter, I learned that there was more to life than completing the next to-do list. I slowed down for the first time in my life and realized I needed to make some significant changes. With that awareness, I started my own journey of growth and transformation. I've become more aware of how my natural tendencies impact those around me, and how my quick reactions make me feel about myself. I'm finding more productive uses for my strengths and building my life and business around my passions and values. I'm rediscovering who I *really* am and what I want my life to look like. I'm practicing self-compassion and forgiving myself when I screw up.

I applied for Dream Big Grow Here because I want to help busy parents transition away from trying to be "perfect" parents, and move toward parenting with purpose. I will provide coaching, programming, tools and resources to help parents clarify their core values, identify and leverage their core character strengths, and determine their priorities so they can focus their time and energy on what matters most. They'll be empowered to use this information to have conversations with their spouse and to create family values, leverage the strengths of the whole family, and ensure that as a family, they carve out quality time together.

Perfectionism and control tendencies have their place, but do not serve us well as parents. I will recommend approaches and resources to help people find more productive uses for their natural talents and tendencies. These approaches are are research-based and practical. I will complement my current coaching practices and techniques and my personal experience as a perfection-seeking parent with specialized training in the areas of self-compassion, positive psychology, appreciative inquiry/living, and character strengths development.

Self-compassion is associated with greater emotional resilience, more caring relationship behavior, and less reactive anger. Through self-compassion, we become kinder and more forgiving with ourselves. We learn that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes; it's human nature. (Learn more in Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff or at www.self-compassion.org).

Positive psychology interventions increase well-being and happiness and changes people’s lives by focusing on meaning, love, gratitude, growth, and better relationships. (Learn more in Flourish by Martin E. P. Seligman)

Appreciative inquiry is a positive, strength-based approach that focuses us on images of what we want and builds on our strengths and successes. (Learn more in The Joy of Appreciative Living by Jackie Kelm)

Character strengths have an impact on our quality of life and our relationships, careers, and growth. Applying our strengths increases our life satisfaction and well-being as we contribute to a better society and humanity. (Learn more at www.viacharacter.org)

I’ll bring all of this together in a comprehensive research-based suite of offerings for my clients. This will 1) enable me to offer specialized coaching, tools, and resources that will better support high-achieving, perfection-seeking, busy parents and 2) help to differentiate me and the services I provide from other local coaches. As my clients leverage these tools and interventions, I expect their level of dissatisfaction and stress to decrease and their level of satisfaction and happiness to increase, which should also positively impact and contribute to stronger relationships with their spouse, children, extended family, friends, and professional associates.

This grant will be much appreciated and used toward the investment in this aforementioned training and other related expenses such as materials and travel. The investment for the training programs I've researched is estimated to be around or just over $4000.

In order to create a more sustainable business model, it is also my intention to invest in a resource this year to take over some of the administrative functions of my business. Any leftover grant money will be applied toward the investment this resource for tasks such as record keeping, bookkeeping, paperwork, calendar management, and more. By delegating these administrative tasks (which do not leverage my strengths), I will have more time to work *in* and *on* my business, connecting with people, coaching people, and designing and delivering workshops and programs.

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Grow Abstract Associates' Service

Ted Hugghins
Abstract Associates of Iowa, Inc.
Fort Dodge, IA
Abstract Associates want unique digital data base supported offices to serve the Land Title transfer abstract and search needs for Calhoun and Wright County Iowa. We plan operations with store fronts, employed Associates, downtown visibility and community involvement. daily.
We offer Abstract and Search services for the Land Title transfer business of Realtors, Bankers, Lawyers and their consumers. Our on-line presence, complete digital Title Plant platform in three counties, driven by fast, accurate and friendly customer service is a sought after character set, by discriminating service providers. Involvement in buying, selling, refinancing or development of real estate property in Iowa requires a close working relationship with a reputable Abstract firm. Our company is a member of Iowa Land Title Association, American Land Title Association and Iowa Title Guaranty.
Our service counties in order of development priority:
2010 Census Webster - 38,013 pop., 17035 housing units
2010 Census Calhoun - 14,867 pop., 5108 housing units
2010 Census Wright - 13,229 pop., 6529 housing units
Planned future expansion*;
*2010 Humboldt - 9815 pop., 4684 housing units
*2010 Hamilton - 15673 pop., 7219 housing units
*2010 Greene - 9336 pop., 4546 housing units
*2010 Pocahontas - 7310 pop., 3794 housing units
Each of our counties of growth require constructing a digital database of previous 40 years of courthouse records.
The acquisition, processing, indexing and production of this endeavor requires Iowans be employed and working.
These funds would be used first, for personnel salary costs of Data Index Technicians, in our 2015 Growth Counties, Calhoun and Wright. Later, funds if available, would be used for leasing costs of business space with store fronts in these two growth counties, Calhoun and Wright.

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Provide Online Business Education to Entrepreneurs and Start-up Businesses

Brian Dale
Oelwein, IA
DINC's (DBA SBDC TV) core purpose is addressing business development, marketing and training needs of entrepreneurs, small business and those classified as socially disadvantaged enterprises through providing online education.
1.0 Business Services Overview
DINC utilizes MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) based e-learning tools to serve innovative curriculum to both entrepreneurs and D.B.E. (Disadvantaged Business Enterprises) demographics. The vast majority of online education is stored in ‘clouds’, streamed by video and served to students using MOOC open source software. This emerging technology has made possible the aggregation and presentation of virtually any subject matter and due to Internet ‘economies of scale’, affordable regardless of business stage.

2.0 Definition of D.B.E.
DBEs as defined by law and the Small Business Administration (SBA), are small business concerns where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51% interest, control management and daily business operations. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific, subcontinent Asian Americans and women are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged. Other individuals can also qualify on a case-by-case basis.

Here are commonly recognized under-served communities which qualify as a DBE;
- Service Disabled Veterans
- ‘Very’ Small Businesses
- Women Owned
- Minority Owned
- Native American Owned
- Veteran Owned

However - disadvantaged businesses can also be defined as simply 'lack of access to adequate training and capital'. Thus, DINC trains anyone with lack of significant financial backing.

3.0 Sales and Revenue Overview
DINC currently relies exclusively on e-sales and doesn’t offer physical product shipping. Generating revenue in this manner allows sales funnel management which is best described as ‘passive’.

This approach to sale management consists of five components;

1. Establishing appropriate price points
2. Negotiate hosting costs with MOOC websites serving content
3. Electronically link payment source(s) to company merchant services
4. Collect payments at pre-determined intervals
5. Internal cash management processes

3.1 Current Sales Funnels
Key to company growth strategy is ‘content multiplication’. Hosting e-curriculum on multiple MOOC websites allows for training platform increases while decreasing operational expenses required with traditional expansion initiatives.

Currently; our signature content is hosted on the following websites;
1. Udemy.com
2. Curious.com
3. Skillshare.com
4. Smallbusinessdevelopmentcenter.tv

Each platform has different pricing structures for students desiring to enroll in courses. At this time, Udemy serves as our primary revenue funnel. However; DINC will gradually lessen its’ dependence on external hosting sources for the following reasons;

• Per student enrollment price relies heavily on a ‘discount course’ modeling. The challenge with this approach is premium prices, called ‘organic sales’ which should bring higher ‘per unit sale price’, are often replaced with high discounts

•Spreading e-courses across multiple sites lessens internal risk of over-dependence on any one particular sales funnel

•Premium, professionally produced content is de-valued by the presence of lower quality content, often available free

To increase sales funnel opportunities, DINC is currently migrating content on our website to be cloud hosted and streamed. As e-learning grows, so will new websites offering to host tutor produced content which is our core product and service.

Future ‘offsite’ content hosting opportunities are as follows

1. Pluralsight.com
2. Opensesame.com
3. Mooc.org

4.0 E-Learning Industry Overview
E-learning consists of all forms of electronically supported and delivered educational instruction. It is further defined as computer and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge.

E-learning applications include:
a. Internet hosted education
b. Desktop, laptop, smart phone and tablet delivered instruction(s)

Virtual education hosted, delivered and remotely served by;
a. Intranet
b. Online
c. Audio or video tape
d. Satellite TV
e. CD-ROM delivered by traditional mailing methods

4.1 Industry Trends
With cost of implementing e-learning tools steadily decreasing; government, businesses and educational institutions are continually adding online courses to improve internal training programs by adopting distance learning initiatives which align with organizational goals.
Due to continually rising operating costs, remote platforms are now accepted as viable training alternatives over more traditional methods.

Examples of e-learning industry trends;
a. Application service providers offer easy to implement online training options
b. G.O.s (government organizations) and N.G.O.s (non-government organizations) are rapidly integrating solutions to increase efficiency
c. Distance learning enhances employee skill sets
d. E-learning cuts costs of providing off-site training as well as expensive consultations
e. Government agencies are deploying e-learning at all military and civil service levels
f. Use e-learning best practices to build cohesive, collaborative environments

4.2 E-learning Industry Impact

The Top 10 statistics about the eLearning Market 2013 that should be highlighted are:

1. eLearning is a $56.2 Billion business and is likely to double in size before 2015.
2. The U.S. and Europe utilize 70% of the world’s eLearning, but Asia Pacific is gaining ground.
3. The fastest growing eLearning markets are Vietnam and Malaysia.
4. 77% of American Corporations use online learning.
5. 72% of companies surveyed report that eLearning keeps them on top of their industry changes.
6. In 2011, 51% of companies did at least one training session with eLearning to more than 50% of their employees.
7. Corporations save 50-70% when they replace instructor-based training with eLearning.
8. eLearning classes are generally 25-60% shorter in duration than traditional classes.
9. 23% of employees leave their jobs because the position lacks opportunity for development and training.
10. Online education is proven to increase knowledge retention by 25-60%.
DINC's reasons for applying for grant and financial assistance are as follows;

1. Cash injection will assist with increasing student engagement through brand image upgrade

2. Cash injection will assist DINC with further outreach to core demographics

3. Immediate brand visibility enhancement through more access to networking events

4. Immediate website upgrade to better serve target demographic

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