Main Street Iowa Open 4 Business Contest

The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group is looking for interested entrepreneurs who could use $28,000 to launch or grow their business idea within Mount Vernon Main Street district. 

The Open 4 Business contest, launched in 2015, is an opportunity for businesses located within a state-designated Main Street district, to compete for a chance to win up to $28,000 in grant funds to assist with a business development or expansion project that will benefit the local community. Last year’s Cedar Rapids-area regional winner was Ann and Guy Booth and their Mount Vernon-based shortbread business, The Perfect Blend, who took home $8,000 to purchase equipment and build a competitive Web site.

Ann Guy and Sarah with check

Interested businesses must complete an application and present a “business pitch” to a panel of judges outlining their business idea and how it will benefit the local economic climate in their community. A 25% cash match is required. The grant funds are administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa program. Local deadline for interested applicants is April 22. Application materials are available through email at director@visitmvl.com.

Each designated Main Street community may submit one local business applicant that will represent Mount Vernon at the sub-state competitions held in five locations across the state on June 13-16, 2016. Sub-state winners will receive $8,000 and advance to the state contest which will be held in Mason City, Iowa the evening of August 2, 2016.  The state winner will win an additional $20,000.

For complete details about this program, please contact Joe Jennison at director@visitmvl.com or Robin Bostrom, Business Specialist, Iowa Downtown Resource Center/Main Street Iowa at 515.725.3053 or robin.bostrom@iowa.gov.