FAYETTE, Iowa (June 1, 2010) – The Grow Iowa Values Fund has awarded a $55,279 grant to Upper Iowa University and the UIU e-Center in support of economic development incentives to enhance the city of Fayette. The matching grant will be used over the next two years to support the Upper Iowa Business Development (UIBD) grant, which annually awards up to $40,000 for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Fayette, according to Andrew Wenthe, UIU vice president for external affairs.
The UIBD grant originally was funded by a $500,000 gift from Bob and Betty Firth, longtime benefactors of the University and members of the UIU Board of Trustees. The University not only used the 2007 gift to fund the initial UIBD grants but also to create an endowment to sustain the grant program. The money from the Grow Iowa Values Fund will replace half of the funds that would normally be withdrawn for UIBD grants in 2011 and 2012, allowing the University to strengthen the endowment while continuing to provide the annual awards, according to Wenthe.
”We are very grateful to the Iowa Board of Regents for supporting our initiatives through the Grow Iowa Values Fund grant,” said UIU President Alan G. Walker. “We are honored to be just one of three private colleges to be selected by our peers to receive this grant in 2010. This funding is important to UIU as well as to the city of Fayette as we partner to create economic opportunities that will strengthen our shared future.”
Wenthe noted that the Grow Iowa Values Fund grant is the first received by the UIBD program. He added that the Grow Iowa Values Fund typically picks more research-oriented educational projects for funding. “Our UIBD grants are directly linked to supporting entrepreneurship and creating jobs,” Wenthe added. “And we appreciate the Board of Regents’ recognition of that practical assistance to our community.
Andy Baumert, state relations officer for the Iowa Board of Regents, noted that the Grow Iowa Values Fund indicates the grants are to be used “in areas related to technology commercialization, entrepreneurship and business development for the purposes of state economic development.”
“While the funds are predominantly used for technology-intensive projects, the legislative mandate includes entrepreneurship and business development, and the Board has always had a strong interest in making sure economic development services and assistance are available across the state,” Baumert added.
The Upper Iowa University e-Center tracks the success of each UIBD grant awarded, monitoring the number of jobs created, as well as the amount generated in sales tax and property tax, Wenthe said. The 2008 UIBD grant of $15,000 was awarded to Fayette Flooring for interior and exterior improvements, and the 2009 UIBD grant of $40,000 was awarded to S.K. Rogers Funeral Chapel to construct a new building in downtown Fayette. The 2010 UIBD grant has not yet been announced.
The e-Center also has launched a student-operated business, Heartlanding, an information technology service arm that works with other area businesses to strengthen their use of electronic technology for marketing and other functions. Wenthe said UIU continues to look for entrepreneurial opportunities that would create new Fayette businesses while generating internship possibilities for UIU students.
Additional information about the UIU e-Center and the UIBD grant are available online.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to over 6,600 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.