FAYETTE, Iowa (January 4, 2008) -- Upper Iowa University (UIU) was recently awarded $139,500 from a Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) grant. RCDI grants are awarded to parties that provide technical assistance to local communities or non-profit organizations with projects related to housing, community facilities or community and economic development.
The $139,500 will be matched by UIU and administered through its e-Center, which is being developed to support economic growth in northeast Iowa. It will work closely with the Fayette County Economic Development Commission and serve as a central resource for communities along the Highway 150 corridor.
When fully operational, the e-Center will conduct a regional asset inventory, develop a unified regional branding and marketing strategy, train local communities on how to consult with small business owners on marketing, technology and business plans, as well as provide an optimized website as an e-Commerce marketing tool for area businesses.
"We are very pleased to assist Upper Iowa University's e-Center, as well as the communities in Fayette County, in their economic development efforts," said Mark Reisinger, USDA Rural Development Iowa State Director. "With the expansion of broadband, Internet and the growth of telecommuting, along with the development of the renewable energy industry, it is an exciting time in rural America."
"We constantly hear in rural Iowa that in order for our entrepreneurs and main street businesses to be successful, there must be a regional partnership and the ability to expand product and service markets," said Andrew Wenthe, e-Center Director. "We also know that sometimes small business owners need assistance with their marketing, business, and technology planning. The RCDI grant will allow the e-Center to provide these opportunities and services for our rural communities and businesses."
Receipt of this RCDI grant comes on the heels of the recent announcement that an Upper Iowa Business Development (UIBD) grant will be awarded annually to entrepreneurs interested in starting, expanding, or relocating a business in Fayette. This UIU-endowed program will offer an annual grant of up to $40,000 to applicants demonstrating a sound business plan, growth potential, and sustainability. Complete information on the UIBD grant will be made available late January, 2008, with applications due April 25 and the first grant awarded in June.
"The RCDI grant, in conjunction with our own business development grant, will provide a nice toolkit for area entrepreneurs," said Upper Iowa President Alan Walker. "We are eager to continue work on these initiatives to provide the best possible quality of life and employment opportunities for the people of northeast Iowa."
For more information about the Upper Iowa University e-Center and/or the UIBD grant, contact Wenthe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 563-425-5348.