Entrepreneurs in Iowa and southern Minnesota are now within fingertips’ reach of the vital, local resources they need to start and grow their businesses.
During last week’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, Iowa and southern Minnesota launched the U.S.SourceLink program in their communities. Through IASourceLink and SoMNSourceLink, entrepreneurs can now access the just-in-time, on-the-ground resources that can help them register their businesses, market their products and services, find funding, expand into new markets and more.
Accessible online, around the clock and regionwide, IASourceLink and SoMNSourceLink connect small business owners and entrepreneurs with the people and resources that can help them overcome their specific technical and financial business challenges.
Homebase for Starting, Growing, Hi-Tech and Funding
IASourceLink is the one-stop, entrepreneurial shop for Iowa’s startups and established businesses.
Through the website, entrepreneurs can find upcoming local business events, workshops and webinars. They can discover what it takes to start a business in Iowa, where to find a business incubator in Iowa, how to launch their high-tech ideas and how to find funding and financing for their small businesses.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) brought the U.S.SourceLink program to Iowa to help start, support and sustain small businesses and improve access to the many resources that are available to small business owners but are sometimes difficult to locate.
"Small businesses are the backbone of the state's economy, accounting for 51 percent of private sector jobs," said Governor Terry Branstad. "We must create an environment where small businesses can flourish and connect the dots for those who want to start or expand their small business with the vast amount of resources that are already available in our state. IASourceLink will do just that."
In addition, the IEDA is collaborating with the University of Northern Iowa'sMyEntre.Net to provide timely, expert webinars, blogs and resource pages dedicated to Iowa small businesses via the website.
Customized Network of Entrepreneurial Experts
Beyond tips and tools, Iowa and southern Minnesota are giving their entrepreneurs a vibrant (and searchable) network of entrepreneurial experts.
Through U.S.SourceLink’s Resource Navigator, SoMNSourceLink links dozens of area service provider partners to improve accessibility and visibility of their services.
Ultimately, that network will encompass service partners in the 20 counties in south central and south eastern Minnesota. These service partners provide an abundance of expertise to entrepreneurs and small businesses in a wide range of fields, such as business strategy, technical support, sales training, marketing, raising capital, product assistance, legal services and more.
Service partners have their own mission, areas of expertise and office locations. Until now, the challenge for entrepreneurs has been to find out what resources are available and then figure out which organization is best-suited to meet their needs.
Through the SoMNSourceLink portal or hotline, those startups and small businesses can easily find the people and organizations that can help them now, all tailored to their location, industry and need.
“More people than ever before are becoming entrepreneurs, but unfortunately there is no shortage of challenges to success,” says Maria Brown, director of SoMNSourceLink. “Quick access to consultation and the range of services available through SoMNSourceLink will give entrepreneurs and small business owners access to the right resources anywhere the region when they need them.”