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Cedar Valley entrepreneurs to be celebrated at annual expo and contest

November 3, 2013
Reinbeck Courier

Small-business owners and those interested in starting a business are invited to attend the Small Business Expo on Thursday, November 7, 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Waterloo Center for the Arts, 225 Commercial Street.

The Cedar Valley Dream Big Grow Here/ Small Business Expo is a networking event with opportunity for small-business owners and entrepreneurs to gather information needed to move forward with their business or start-up idea. Attendees can speak directly to UNI business consultants to receive information and referrals for assistance with obtaining financing, increasing sales, doing business on the Web, performing market research, and other business services.

As part of this celebration of entrepreneurship, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is hosting the Dream Big Grow Here grant contest finale. $5,000 will be awarded to help a local business take their firm to the next level. Five contest finalists will be 'pitching off' to a panel of local judges. The five businesses taking the stage will include: Eat Cakes, Genuine Faux Farm, Strong Estate LLC, KT's Indoor Inflatable Park, and Young G's Barbeque Sauce. The pitch-off will be held at 6:00 at the Waterloo Center for the Arts, and the public is encouraged to attend. The winner will advance to a statewide pitch-off for an opportunity to win an additional $10,000, as part of Entrefest! 2014 to be held in April.

The regional Dream Big Grow Here winner will also receive a one year investor status in the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber with access to all investor benefits including networking events, business services, marketing opportunities, and more.

This is the Alliance & Chamber's third year hosting the MyEntre.Net's award winning Dream Big Grow Here contest. Alliance & Chamber board member and Cedar Falls entrepreneur Washut Far Reach emceed last year's event, "Any time an entrepreneur has the opportunity to tell their story, it's a good thing. Even better is when they have the chance to tell it to a room full of people and get direct feedback from others who've been down the same road. That experience is invaluable. Dream Big Grow Here offers just such an opportunity to those willing to step out of their comfort zones and put their ideas out there. But not only is it good for the entrepreneur, it's good for the community because it builds awareness of, engagement with, and support for local businesses."

The Technology Association of Iowa will also be hosting their popular monthly TechBrew networking event at the Expo to show their support of the start-up and innovation community. TechBrew is regularly supported and attended by local technology based companies such as Banno, DISTek Integration Inc, Far Reach, Spinutech, Inc., VGM Forbin, and Vital Support Systems.

Community members are encouraged to attend this free event to meet and support Cedar Valley businesses. Free exhibitor booths are available, for details contact Patrick Luensman at 319-273-4335 or For more information about the Cedar Valley Dream Big Grow Here contest contact Taylor King at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by calling 319-232-1156 or

The Cedar Valley Dream Big Grow Here/Small Business Expo event is hosted by Waterloo Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation, University of Northern Iowa Business & Community Services, University of Northern Iowa MyEntre.Net, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, ReNew Waterloo, and the Technology Association of Iowa.

Dream Big Grow Here is an initiative of UNI MyEntre.Net & UNI Business & Community Services. Statewide sponsors for Dream Big Grow Here include: Iowa Banker's Association; Renew Rural Iowa; Delta Dental of Iowa; Iowa Economic Development Authority; Technology Association of Iowa; VentureNet Iowa.



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