MSI once again to offer O4B grant contest

The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG), a Main Street Iowa organization, has announced that it is once again taking applications for the Main Street Iowa Open 4 Business grant contest.

The contest is open only to businesses located in the 12-block area of Main Street Mount Vernon. To be eligible, businesses in Uptown Mount Vernon must have been in business since May 17, 2018. And said business must remain in business for at least two years after completing the contest.

In the past, Mount Vernon businesses have received more than $53,000 in state grants to improve or expand their business and is the only community in the state with businesses that have won the regional award four years in a row.

Those businesses included:

Fuel Art & Espresso, 2018





The Bijou Theater, 2017








One Mission Fundraising, 2016





The Perfect Blend, 2015








Mount Vernon can only submit one business to the regional contest. Is that one business yours? Applications are available by contacting Joe Jennison, Main Street Director at

Applicants will be required to fill out a form and submit it with a 5-minute video and a basic budget explaining how the business would spend $8,000 to expand or improve.

Find a copy of the local application here:

Find a copy of the budget form here:

Find a copy of the contest guidelines here:

Find a copy of the contest rules here:

Find a copy of the judge’s scoring criteria here:

Find a copy of the marketing flyer here:


  • All apps should be received by Jennison no later than Friday, April 5, at 5 p.m.
  • A local business pitch session will take place Tuesday, April 23, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. All applicants will be given a 15-minute time slot to pitch their ideas to a local committee. That committee will pick one winner to submit to the regional contest. The local judging committee’s decision is final and there is no appeals process.
  • Local winner announced Wednesday, April 24 – Local winner to receive $500 from CDG
  • Local winner works with CDG to improve pitch and app from April 24 to May 17. This includes one pitch session to the local Economic Development committee on Wednesday, 15, at 7:30 a.m. (time of this pitch session is negotiable)
  • Winning application to be sent to MSI through CDG by Friday, May 17
  • Regional judging to take place via Skype Thursday, June 27 – winner to receive additional $8,000
  • State contest to take place August 27, in Dubuque – winner at state to receive additional $20,000