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EntreFest! puts spotlight on job creation and small business growth

March 1, 2012

Courtney Schwitzer, communications coordinator for MyEntre.Net Iowa, UNI Regional Business Center, 319-273-4328,

Rebecca Schultze, communications and public relations manager, UNI College of Business Administration, 319-273-3309


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Iowa needs to create jobs -- lots of them. And helping Iowa's small-business community grow and create new jobs is the impetus behind the fifth annual EntreFest! conference, taking place March 8-9 in Ames, Iowa.

EntreFest!, developed at the University of Northern Iowa Regional Business Center through its MyEntre.Net program, connects small-business owners with capital, technical assistance and marketing support to start or expand a business. The two-day conference will be at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center, 2100 Green Hills Drive, Ames. The registration fee is $119 per person, and participants can register online at

The 2012 conference will kick off with keynote speaker Kelly McDonald, bestselling author of "How to Market to People Not Like You," which was named one of the "Top 5 Best Business Books of 2011" by Inc. magazine. McDonald, a national marketing expert and owner of Dallas-based McDonald Marketing, has a client list that includes Toyota, Harley Davidson, Ace Hardware and Nike.

Other speakers at Fest 2012 include entrepreneurs and business professionals from throughout the Midwest. Session topics will focus on marketing, pricing and generating new sales, managing time and employees, and how to use technology in a small business. The event also includes the Business Smorgasbord, which allows hundreds of small business owners to talk one-on-one with business attorneys, accountants, investors, human resource professionals and other key business professionals.

New to EntreFest! in 2012 is the Dream Big Grow Here Pitch-off. Seven Iowa small-business owners will compete for a $10,000 grand prize at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 8. The pitch-off is open to the public and will be emceed by Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham.

For more information about EntreFest!, including a full schedule, speaker bios and registration details, visit or contact Courtney Schwitzer at 319-273-4328 or

EntreFest! is presented by a collaborative committee of Iowa's premier service providers from across the state. Lead sponsors for EntreFest! 2012 include Iowa Farm Bureau/Renew Rural Iowa, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and the UNI Regional Business Center/MyEntre.Net.

Other sponsors include:Ames Chamber of Commerce and Ames Economic Development Commission, Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy, BrownWinick, Iowa Area Development Group Community Foundation, Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Iowa Bankers Association, Iowa Small Business Development Centers, Iowa State University College of Business, Iowa State University Community Vitality Center, MidAmerican Energy, Targeted Small Business Program of Iowa, UNI Division of Business and Community Services, UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center/UNI Entrepreneurs Grant and Wells Fargo.