University Economic Development Association


Advance Iowa

Award Category: Place
Project Site: Advance Iowa
Submitted By: University of Northern Iowa
Contact: Paul Kinghorn, 319.273.4327

Case Study

The majority of Iowa is rural and most of their small businesses are isolated from the services necessary to successfully operate and grow. Rural businesses continue to face challenges into the information age and the biggest hurdle for rural companies is yet to come. According to the Business Entreprise Institute (BEI) in the next ten years two-thirds of all businesses are going to transfer ownership. Without proper planning and support, these rural companies won’t be able to make the transition effectively, which will result in the loss of weatlh, jobs, and economic vitality in the communites they serve.  

CBGI has established Advance Iowa, a comprehensive consulting program designed to work with small to medium enterprises to enhance profitability and growth, create strategy within their companies, and plan for their exit.

Leveraging an array of tools and resources, the Advance Iowa staff is addressing the complex problems and issues facing today’s entrepreneurs, including strategy development, transition planning, wealth enhancement and leadership improvement. 

The project includes a combination of one on one project work, peer learning groups, and connections with university resources, private service providers, and other economic development assistance programs thoughout the state.

Over the 5+ years of the Advance Iowa program’s existence, 465 companies in 68 of Iowa’s 99 counties have received assistance.

Finalist Presentation

UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalists presented at the Annual Summit in Milwaukee on October 22 and 23, 2018. Summit attendees then voted for the best initiative in each category.