Joe Bolick, communications and public relations manager, UNI Business and Community Services, 319-273-6577, firstname.lastname@example.org@uni.edu
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The UNI Center for Business Growth and Innovation Dream Big Grow Here program is proud to announce the awarding of grant funds to six Iowa companies to help them expand their firms, including the grand prize recipient HowFactory based in Waterloo for $15,000.
"I'm just so proud of the team that Kenny Stevenson and I have built. They work so hard and this win is such a boost! We just keep building!” said Trace Steffen, partner at HowFactory.
Several other firms received $5,000 awards, including AgriSync based in West Des Moines, Fresh Mediterranean Express LLC from Waukee, K2 Medical Alerts in Muscatine, UpCraft Club located in Des Moines and FarmTable Delivery in Harlan.
A group of 119 entrepreneurs competed earlier this year for a shot to be one of 30 finalists in the Dream Big Grow Here program, collecting online votes and comments of support. During the two-week voting period, the Dream Big Grow Here website attracted almost a million page views and thousands of online votes and comments of support for Iowa innovators. From this pool, five finalists were selected from each of the six online industry categories to compete in one final pitch off held in conjunction with EntreFEST in Iowa City on May 21.
"Dream Big Grow Here is a program that we are tremendously proud of here at UNI for pioneering," said Dream Big Grow Here team lead Rob Williams. "The entire point is to encourage Iowa owners and startups to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. With thousands of champions here at EntreFEST to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, it made perfect sense to house the finals at EntreFEST and celebrate the idea that no matter where you are from in Iowa, you can start and grow an international enterprise in our great state."
Dream Big Grow Here is a program of the Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa, housed under UNI Business and Community Services. A diverse set of public and private sponsors make the program possible, including: Renew Rural Iowa, VentreNet Iowa, Iowa Bankers Association, Veridian Credit Union, IASourceLink and Advance Iowa.