One Mission Open4Business co-winner

Mount Vernon’s One Mission Fundraising, was co-winner of the second Main Street Iowa Open 4 Business State Contest. The event finals was hosted by the Iowa Economic  Development Authority (IEDA) on Tuesday, Aug. 2, in Mason City.

Debi Durham, IEDA director, served as the emcee for the event as businesses made their pitch in front of a panel of judges for a chance to win $20,000 to execute their business plans.

One Mission Fundraising (onemissionfundraising.com) is a fundraising platform for churches, schools, non-profits, adoptive parents, missionaries, mission groups, basically any “world changer.” One Mission exists to help good causes raise the money needed to accomplish their missions through online fundraising programs. Owners John and Amanda Rhomberg plan to use the financial investment to accelerate Web development projects to further improve their funding platform.

One Mission shared the top prize with Wendy Klein, Bella Ragazza in Burlington.

Co-winners Bella Ragazza and One Mission Fundraising will share the first prize of $20,000 and a runner-up award of $2,000; each will receive $11,000 to advance their business plans. 

Three other regional winners making pitches were Whitney Henze with Wize Bize Wholesale in Hampton; Ellen Paulin with the Hotel Greenfield, Greenfield, and Susan Watts of Olson Larsen Galleries in West Des Moines. Each district winner was awarded $8,000 and a year of business coaching services from action coach, Andy O’Brien.

Each business submitted an application outlining their business plan and had 15 minutes to pitch their business idea to the panel of judges before a live audience. Judges for the event included Nancy Dunkel, state representative and Main Street Advisory Board member; Doug Moss, Area Director for rural development with UDSA; Vada Grantham, director of entrepreneurship at DMACC; Amelia Lobo, director of credit and lending at the Iowa Center for Economic Success; and Lisa Shimkat, state director of the Iowa Small Business Development Center.  

This is the second year of the Open 4 Business contest which is open to businesses located in the 52 Main Street Iowa districts across the state. The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs. The funding will assist with business expansion projects for each of the businesses.

“This program enables entrepreneurs in downtown districts to think big about their business expansion opportunities,” explained Michael Wagler, the state coordinator for the Main Street Iowa program.  “The innovation and leadership these businesses demonstrate reinforce each local Main Street’s efforts to promote a game-changing mentality.”

The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature.  Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $6 million in state and federal funds has leveraged over $37 million in private reinvestment in 115 projects in 43 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state.