UNI to Launch Regional Entrepreneurship Project in Western Iowa

UNI to launch entrepreneurship region in western Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa’s Business & Community Services (BCS) will collaborate with regional economic development groups in Iowa’s Monona, Plymouth and Woodbury counties to launch a new initiative to support and encourage entrepreneurship and start-up businesses. The Regional Entrepreneurship Project is provided through a grant to UNI as part of the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center Program.

A number of economic development groups in the three-county area are assisting UNI to organize this initiative, which was announced at Western Iowa Tech on Tuesday, Oct. 7.

This collaboration includes the LeMars Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Sioux City Economic Development Dept., The Siouxland Initiative, the Woodbury County Dept. of Rural Economic Development, the Monona County Economic Development Partnership, Western Iowa Power Cooperative, Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council and other service providers from across the region.

“The goal of this project is to build upon the interest and passion for entrepreneurship already apparent in the region. The process will develop a shared focus and direction to encourage and support existing small businesses and new start-ups,” said LaDene Bowen, Director of the UNI-EDA University Center.

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Matthews talks business, inspiration and superpowers

Mitch Matthews - google your brain

Business coach, author and entrepreneur Mitch Matthews will give a talk titled “Google Your Brain” at Business for Breakfast on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 a.m.

We got a chance to ask him 5 questions today about his talk, who inspired him and even his superpower.

What does it mean to Google your brain?

“Google your brain” is a metaphor to help us remember that our brain functions a lot like a search engine. If you ask a search engine a good question you’ll get better search results. If you ask your brain a better question you’ll get better solutions.

So then it comes down to how do you ask yourself or those around you better questions to uncover those better solutions? That’s what we’re going to dig into on Tuesday.

Name three people who have inspired you.

Great question. Oh and the list is long. But I’ll just go with the top three that come to mind today.

The first is Marty Doane. He owned the bike shop in my hometown of Newton, Iowa. He saw potential in me at 13 and hired me. That changed my life forever. That’s also where the entrepreneurial bug bit me hard.

I’ll also throw out Henry Ford. He got a little sideways in his later years but he truly was a business person who changed the world by bringing it something it didn’t even know it needed. Plus I’ll share a little-known story on Tuesday that makes him a true “solution-based thinking” hero to me. Continue reading →

Sioux City’s Launch Week Events Announced

The 2nd annual Launch Week aims to inspire, motivate, and promote collaboration among professionals, as well as encourage people to be innovative and explore their own entrepreneurial ideas. Join us for a week of creativity beginning September 5th!

SW_2Startup Weekend is a hands-on experience where entrepreneurs, business professionals, and anyone interested in building a business can come together over the course of a weekend to share ideas, form teams, and launch a startup. Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday at the Ho-Chunk Centre, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams will work from Springboard Coworking and focus on building a business through business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts at the Orpheum Theatre. The final presentations start at 5pm at the Orpheum and are open to the public. Register for Startup Weekend here!



Join Mitch Matthews as he presents “How to Google Your Brain” at Business for Breakfast at the Sioux City Convention Center. Mitch Matthews is a leading authority on innovative thinking, goal achievement and work-place engagement. In working with leaders from organizations like NASA, Disney, and the Principal Financial Group, Mitch has helped them to increase sales, improve customer satisfaction, develop new products, increase employee engagement and innovate key systems. Attendees will learn how to ask better questions that will produce better search results to motivate and inspire new ideas and solutions.


LNL_2US Bank will sponsor a Lunch & Learn with attorney Ryan Ross presenting the various types of legal structures that an entrepreneur will have to consider when starting a business. US Bank President, Darin Daby, will also provide information on local lending options in our community.



Startup Sioux City will host a casual night of networking for entrepreneurs, small business owners, community leaders, and anyone interested in innovation, growing small business or starting their own business. Biz Brew gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their network by making connections with key influencers and building relationships, as well as allow businesses to share information, recruit talent, and increase visibility. Attendees will also learn about what resources are available and what innovative things are happening in Sioux City. Live music and pizza will be provided thanks to our sponsor, Downtown Partners.



First Friday Coffee brings entrepreneurs, local business owners, city representatives, and business professionals together to listen to one entrepreneur tell us about themselves and their business over coffee. After a 6 minute presentation from the startup or small business owner, the attendees are able to ask questions, as well as provide feedback and advice to help the business overcome challenges and grow. Join us on September 12th as we hear from Jean Gill of Four Paws Fitness and Rehab about how her business can improve your canine’s quality of life.

Launch Week kicks off in Sioux City September 5th


We know that entrepreneurs start companies that create jobs, invest in the community, and generate economic growth. In Sioux City, we want to encourage people to be innovative and explore their own entrepreneurial ideas, and the 2nd annual Launch Week will do just that! With speakers, startup presentations and plenty of networking, Launch Week aims to inspire, motivate, and promote collaboration among professionals.


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Entrepreneurship tour to end 6-city stop in Sioux City

On Aug. 6-7, Think 29, a group of entrepreneurs with the goal to see technology and innovation thrive along the I-29 corridor, will launch the first Think 29 Tour with the goal of getting startup community leaders talking and supporting each others’ efforts regionally.

The tour will travel from Fargo to Sioux City over two days, making stops in Watertown, Brookings, Sioux Falls and Yankton along the way.

Each city will host an event promoting entrepreneurship. With Sioux City as the final destination, Startup Sioux City will host a Biz Brew networking event at 5 p.m. on Aug. 7 on the patio of The Chesterfield on 4th Street.

There will be live music, local food trucks, and outdoor entertainment, as well as information and giveaways from the Think 29 team.

Startup Weekend coming to Sioux City on Sept. 5

Startup Weekend Sioux City Sean Richardson of RXA Technology announced that Startup Weekend is coming to Sioux City on Sept. 5.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour challenge to create a startup. It is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with more than 1,800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend-long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation.

The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5 gig, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic, but fun, world of startups.

If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, if only for a weekend, register now. Hurry! Early bird ticket prices end soon!

Or if you have a question for the organizer, e-mail Sean Richardson.

Base 3 features 3 national speakers on July 17

Base 3 entrepreneurship event. Rick Knudtson of Flywheel, an Omaha hosting company for WordPress websites, talks at Base 3 in January 2014. Photo by Thomas Ritchie

RXA Technology is hosting a night of entrepreneurship on July 17, welcoming three national speakers to Base 3. The night will begin with a Biz Brew networking mixer sponsored by Startup Sioux City.

The event will feature speakers Alex Altomare, Co Founder of BetaBlox, Founder of The Lean Lab, and Techstars Mentor; Scott Conley, Managing Partner of Flipstone Technology Partners; and Tina Beal, Owner, Creative Director & Client Relations at Social Bug. Their talks will focus on entrepreneurship, branding, creating a makerspace, female entrepreneurship, accelerators, and the benefits of being a mentor.

The night begins at 5 p.m. on the 8th floor of the Ho Chunk Centre, 600 4th St., and will kick off with the Biz Brew, an informal gathering aimed at promoting new and emerging businesses in Sioux City.

Tickets are free and available at http://www.rxatechnology.com/base3.

Base 3 is sponsored by the Security National Bank, SEDC, MyEntre.net, AdvanceIowa, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce/The Siouxland Initiative, Silicon Prairie News, U.S. Bank, Sioux City Ford Lincoln, Iowa Small Business Development Center, Western Iowa Tech Community College, Brownbox.com, Sunnybrook Flowershop and Greenhouse, StickerMule.com, Springboard Coworking, Startup Weekend Sioux City, Team Creative Fire and Startup Sioux City.


Alex Altomare

Alex loves solving big problems and has launched several companies to address challenges in education, private equity, policy, healthcare, and tech. Most recently, he co-founded BetaBlox, a business accelerator which has invested in over 70 high growth startups. Today, Alex is an investor, Techstars mentor, and board member for several nonprofits including the Lean Lab – an education incubator dedicated to pioneering radical solutions to challenges urban core education.

Scott Conely

Scott Conley is a seasoned technology executive and strategist, contributing vision, leadership and drive to enterprises large and small worldwide. Scott’s mix
of technological and business talent has delivered higher performing teams, stronger delivery mechanics and millions in product yields. While Chief Strategy Officer for ThoughtWorks, Inc., his expertise was for nearly a decade injected into many of the Fortune 500’s primary lines of business, across an array of industries: financial services, high technology, telecommunications, software engineering and utilities.

Scott’s current work is focused on startup projects at Flipstone Technology and his not-for-profit hackerspace in Boynton Beach, Florida. Scott earned a BSBA
(CompSci) from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business and is a lifelong Florida Gator.

Tina Beal

Known for her enthusiasm and never-give-up attitude, Tina has passionately worked through the up’s and down’s of “finding the exciting career ” as well as functioning as an “open book” of entrepreneurship honesty.

Tina holds back no secrets on what has worked well and what has miserably failed. Tina shared, “If I am not honest about my flaws and mistakes, how could I share the lessons learned out of those trails? All I have done (good and bad) make me better, smarter and more efficient business owner (and service provider).”

Tina’s level of knowledge and inquisitive marketing nature has been years in the making. Marketing (all platforms) require a plethora of skills and experience (andsometimes a really big gut feeling); it also requires the desire to never stoplearning. Fortunately, skills and experience have been accumulating through previous places of employment, volunteer projects, and an overall healthy addiction to marketing.

Biz Brew sponsored by Jolly Rogers


Join us for a hot summer night of networking, entrepreneurship and drinks on the river.

Biz Brew is about meeting new faces, talking innovation and making connections with local small businesses, startups and the community that supports them. The best part – we’re gathering on the river at Jolly Rogers. The awesome folks there have agreed to host and sponsor our event. Appetizers will be provided and there will be a cash bar.

Whether you’re into technology or agriculture, creating widgets or software, we don’t care. It’s all about connecting with like-minded people interested in helping small companies succeed.

So come join dozens of local entrepreneurs, small business owners, community builders, and other professionals from the Sioux City area on Wednesday, June 18, at 5 p.m. at Jolly Rogers, 1110 Larsen Park Road.

The event is free and open to the public, so stop by after work and enjoy some beverages, food, and networking.

Getting Angel Investors to Call You Back

ben hanten


Are you looking for funding for your idea or business? Do you have a great idea, start-up, or even a company looking to grow?

You may have found yourself wondering where you should go or how will you get money for your endeavor?

One way to raise funds is through an angel investor or angel investing group.

Angel funding is usually the second step of funding after your seed fund (money from close family and friends) and venture capital. Angel investors are an important step for many small to medium size businesses because of the value they provide to your company. They are hands-on investors that are there to contribute their skills, expertise, knowledge, and contacts in the businesses they invest in.

Many angel investors have, in fact, run their own successful businesses and have a great understanding of how to help. They are willing to offer their advice to entrepreneurs to start or develop their businesses as well.

There are two problems that entrepreneurs find themselves in though: Finding the investor who can help them and getting past the the initial pitch.

On April 30th, SCORE, Iowa Small Business Development Centers, Springboard Coworking, WITCC and Startup Sioux City have partnered to bring you a workshop, powered by Ben Hanten, to educate you on “How to get an Angel Investor to Call You Back.”

Ben Hanten is an angel investor and the due-diligence chair of Two Bridges Capital. He co-founded Wire Me Awake, an entrepreneurial conference held at the University of South Dakota. Ben is a lifelong entrepreneur and is the owner of two bars – Ben’s and the Copper Room. He spends his extra time building the entrepreneurial ecosystem and mentoring startup founders as well as running the entrepreneurial site Think 29.

Ben lives in Yankton, S.D., with his wife and two dogs. The insights he’s gained through his interactions with entrepreneurs looking for funding inspired him to develop “How to Get Angel Investors to Call You Back” as a way to help people understand how to prepare for making a successful pitch to an investor or investment group.

For additional information and to register for this workshop, please contact Tom Eakin (SCORE)- Phone: 605-670-0192, or Todd Rausch (SBDC)- Phone: 712-274-6454, or visit the following websites: www.siouxcity.score.org/localworkshops; or our events page.





Biz Brew sponsored by 4th Street Sports Bar


Are you an entrepreneur, small business owner, student, or creative spirit who is looking to collaborate with other innovative thinkers? Or, have you been looking for fun ways to meet new people and get involved in the community? Great, we thought so!

Join us for Biz Brew on Wednesday, April 16th at 5:00 p.m. at 4th Street Sports Bar. This informal gathering aims to bring people together who are interested in fostering a startup community and creating a positive environment for businesses to grow.

We’re not a formal organization, but rather a random group of locals from varying backgrounds interested in promoting the startup community and helping foster creativity right here in Siouxland.

There’s no pressure to share, present, or bring anything – just show up.

The event is free and open to the public, so stop by after work and enjoy some beverages, food, and networking.