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Dream Big Grow Here grant entry period closes Sept. 27

CRESTON – The South Central Iowa Area Partnership has partnered with the University of Northern Iowa to offer an award winning online business grant contest worth $5,000 to regional entrepreneurs and small-business owners called Dream Big Grow Here.

Contestants can win cash and gain widespread statewide publicity by competing in the South Central Iowa Area Partnership Regional Dream Big Grow Here grant contest followed by a statewide Pitch-Off event during the annual EntreFest! conference for a shot at the $10,000 grand prize.

Now in its third year, Dream Big Grow Here offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to upload their business start-up and growth ideas online until Sept. 27 at www.DreamBigGrowHere.com, then encourage customers, friends, family, and community members to vote online for them from Oct. 1-15.

The top five online-vote getters will then participate in a regional pitch-off event to determine the regional $5,000 business grant winner. Winners from each of the regional contests will all be invited to go on to compete for an additional $10,000 grand prize business grant in a live pitch-off event during the statewide EntreFest! conference for Iowa business owners to be held early next year.

Tom Mulholland, owner of Mulholland Grocery in Malvern and the 2012 Dream Big Grow Here grand prize winner, said “The Dream Big Grow Here contest has proven to be a bountiful opportunity for my business, and my community. Just since winning the contest earlier this year, we have had visitors and gained new customers from all across the state — and even from outside Iowa. One of our highlights was hosting Kim Reynolds, our lieutenant governor, here in Malvern to see Mulholland Grocery and learn more about our local business community.”

Lead sponsor for Dream Big Grow Here 2012 is the Iowa Bankers Association. Other key sponsors for Dream Big Grow Here are a mix of private and public sector agencies, including the University of Northern Iowa MyEntre.Net, Iowa Bankers Association, Renew Rural Iowa, Iowa Economic Development Authority, VentureNet, Delta Dental of Iowa, and the Technology Association of Iowa. Local sponsors include the development groups from Union, Ringgold, Clarke, Decatur, Lucas and Wayne counties.

For more information on the South Central Iowa Area Partnership Regional Dream Big Grow Here Grant Contest and to enter the contest, go to www.DreamBigGrowHere.com. For complete rules or for more information about this regional contest contact Wayne J. Pantini at 641-782-2003. To learn more about how your community can get involved in this exciting initiative, contact UNI Dream Big Grow Here Lead Rob Williams at rob.williams@uni.edu or by phone at 319-273-4333.

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