The Place for Innovation

The Place for Innovation Main Photo

23 Apr 2024

Entrepreneurship, Small Business, News, Blog, Economic Development, Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute, OEI

The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation has a few key program areas that make up a majority of what we do: Business Attraction, Business Retention & Expansion, Entrepreneurship, Community Development, and Administration. Today, we’d like to expand more on Entrepreneurship.

The Backbone of our Communities

Small businesses and entrepreneurs that bring new products and services to market within the region are the backbone of our communities. Money spent in local businesses is more likely to stay within the community, bolstering the economic ecosystem and growth here. Having small businesses supporting the needs of the Corridor Region helps provide a variety of the products and services needed for the entire population. It means there are places to get a hair cut, buy gifts for friends and family, get quality food for dinner at a local restaurant (and not deal with cooking or the cleanup), or have a place to hang out and grab a cup of coffee and hang out with friends. Small businesses give diversity to the business ecosystem. You can learn more about a few of those businesses like Blurry Bigfoot Coffee Co. and AERO Race Wheels in our 2023 Annual Report.

Providing Resources & Connections

The Corridor supports small business owners and entrepreneurs in a variety of ways. Whether that means sharing resources like IASourceLink, organizing educational events like our March Lunch & Learn with an expert panel discussing Business Succession & Transition, or connecting entrepreneurs with mentors or services to assist them like Iowa SBDC, the Corridor can help you find the answer or resource to help you with your business venture.

The Entrepreneurial Atmosphere

Another benefit of living in the Corridor Region is that there is a long history of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. Not only are there many successful businesses owners and entrepreneurs already here, but most of them are more than willing to connect with like-minded individuals and help them to build their brand or business. That openness and willingness to give back is evident by the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute, which is celebrating 18 years of entrepreneurial education to some of the state’s college-age innovators in 2024. The program would not be possible without the strong support system for entrepreneurs in the region that open their homes as host families, sponsor the event, or act as speakers, coaches, and mentors to the 32 college students we host each year.

Space to Work

Another asset our Corridor region has is coworking spaces for individuals to have a community working environment that fosters collaboration, especially in entrepreneurship. In addition, there are also many awesome coffee shops, libraries, and other public spaces to be able to conduct work as well.

Innovation Abounds

Already in our region we have seen many innovative products get a start here and continue to be produced here and shipped across the globe. With wide open spaces, a strong network, and plenty of creativity, aspiring business owners can find a friendly and supportive community in the region to get started and build their business.