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Dream Big Grow Here surpasses 10,000 visitors in first four days of online voting

October 3, 2013

Joe Bolick, communications and public relations, Business & Community Services, 319-273-6577,

Rob Williams, business analyst, Regional Business Center, 319-273-4333,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- In less than a week after going live with voting on one of its nine business contests, the award winning business grant contest Dream Big Grow Here has already attracted over 10,000 people from across the United States to go online and vote for Iowa small business owners vying for a shot at a $5,000 business grant. Regional winners from this year's contests will then go on for a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize at the annual EntreFest! business conference early next year.

The Dream Big Grow Here grant contest is more than a popularity contest for a business grant. It's an economic development tool to bolster local Iowa economies and celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship in rural towns.

"Dream Big Grow Here has been a tremendously successful program for the University of Northern Iowa, and is but one important example of how we attract, engage, celebrate and help grow Iowa small businesses," said Rob Williams, statewide lead for Dream Big Grow Here. "We've been gaining lots of national traction with Dream Big Grow Here as well, including an expansion of the contest to Oklahoma, and we are a finalist in the prestigious University Economic Development Association's Awards of Excellence."

While voting is live in the Southwest Iowa contest, all of the other contest regions are still accepting entries. Go to to find entry requirements to submit your business dream, or go online to support your local businesses with a vote or word of encouragement.

Lead sponsor for Dream Big Grow Here is the Iowa Bankers Association. Other key sponsors are a mix of private and public sector agencies, including the University of Northern Iowa MyEntre.Net, Iowa Farm Bureau/Renew Rural Iowa, Iowa Economic Development Authority, VentureNet, Delta Dental of Iowa and the Technology Association of Iowa. Dream Big Grow Here is a program of UNI Business & Community Services.