In partnership with ECICOG, the Rural Ideas Network has been awarded a $412,105 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to expand its efforts to support rural entrepreneurs across Iowa. Since 2020, the Rural Ideas Network has piloted two services for supporting entrepreneurs in rural communities — a coworking accelerator program and a virtual Business Lab service. Through the accelerator program, the Rural Ideas Network staff helps local community partners to plan, launch, and operate coworking spaces that serve as innovation and entrepreneurship hubs within the community. Each Business Lab offers a full menu of virtual programs, including one-on-one business coaching, peer learning, and technical assistance and training.
As part of the EDA grant, the Rural Ideas Network will provide low- or no-cost services to selected rural communities that are interested in opening a coworking space or bringing a Business Lab to their community. A request for proposals will be available soon to communities interested in applying for the scholarships. Contact Karen Kurt at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an interest in this exciting program.