FAYETTE, Iowa (August 19, 2008) - The first recipient of the Upper Iowa Business Development (UIBD) grant is Debbie Marmann, owner of Fayette Flooring.
Marmann was awarded $15,000 during a formal presentation at her Main Street store on Tuesday, Aug. 19 at 2:00 p.m. The competitive UIBD grant of up to $40,000 is for entrepreneurs interested in starting, expanding, or relocating a business in Fayette. The other $25,000 has been offered to ARK Networks, a start-up company that provides e-commerce tool kits and expertise to business owners. CEO Dale Lenz will be advertising for an individual to manage ARK in Fayette.
Grant applications were evaluated on criteria ranging from expected impact on the community in terms of jobs created, local tax revenue, e-commerce opportunities, and whether or not the business can provide a measurable benefit or amenity to the community. Marmann will use the money as reimbursement for building and storefront improvements to her existing location and to advertise Fayette Flooring.
"One of our main goals in creating the UIBD Grant is to bring new business and vitality to downtown Fayette," said Andrew Wenthe, director of Upper Iowa University's e-Center and Chair of the UIBD Grant Advisory Committee. "This award will not only beautify Fayette's Main Street by creating a new storefront, but the addition of a new business offering a product and service with widespread appeal will help the entire area."
According to Wenthe, as a condition of the grant, Marmann is also required to enroll and participate in a 10-week course offered by the Fayette County Economic Development Commission beginning in October. "Accountability and measuring the UIBD Grant's success is important to our advisory committee," said Wenthe. "Debbie has clearly put considerable time into her business plan and this course will be another tool to help Debbie make Fayette Flooring a successful venture."
The UIBD Grant is made possible by a generous donation of $500,000 from alumnus Bob Firth and wife, Betty, both UIU board members and longtime university benefactors. The Firths are currently building a new eco-friendly home in Fayette.
"I am grateful to receive this support from Upper Iowa," said Marmann. "I encourage any entrepreneur to consider applying for the UIBD Grant next year so they too can build their business in Fayette."
For more information about Upper Iowa University, go to www.uiu.edu. For questions about applying for the UIBD grant or to learn more about the ARK management position, contact Andrew Wenthe at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.uiu.edu/ecenter.
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