Entrepreneurs from Rock Rapids and Lester pitched their way to the top two spots in the 2017 Northwest Iowa Dream Big Grow Here contest at the Prairie Winds Event Center in Orange City on Thursday, November 16.
“The Dream Big Grow Here competition is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to sharpen their business focus and showcase their business in a competition for prize money to put back into their young businesses,” said Northwest Iowa Development board member and Lyon County Economic Development director Steve Simons. “Those competing all presented their business plans, successes, strategies, and how they would utilize funds from the program to grow their businesses.”
Breann White of Lester, owner and operator of Small Batch home bakery, received the top prize of $4,000 which she will use in expanding her kitchen facility. Leann Kruger of Rock Rapids, owner and operator of Creative Edge, received the second prize of $2,000 for equipment and her move to a store-front in Rock Rapids. The third prize of $1,000 was earned by Nicole Rozenboom of Hull, who is moving her B. Fierce Boutique to a store front in Hull.
In September, entrepreneurs submitted their dream to start or expand a business in the Northwest Iowa Dream Big Grow Here grant contest and recruited family, friends and customers to vote for their entry. Of the nine entrepreneurs participating, five were invited to present or pitch their business to a three-judge panel on November 16 in Orange City. The five finalists were:
- B Fierce Boutique from Hull (Nicole Rozeboom)
- Carroll Street Treats from Rock Rapids (Meredith and Joe Vander Zee and their family)
- Creative Edge from Rock Rapids (Leann Kruger)
- Small Batch from Lester (Breann White)
- Twin Flames Massage & Wellness Centre from Akron (Tambrey & David Groves)
“Entrepreneurs are very important to our business community in northwest Iowa and it is exciting to see them taking that path, working hard and building businesses,” Simons added. “Our goal is for the Dream Big Grow Here program to continue growing and assisting those entrepreneurs in making their dreams come true and building successful businesses in northwest Iowa.”
The Northwest Iowa regional contest is sponsored and organized by Iowa’s West Coast Initiative, Northwest Iowa Developers, and Siouxland Economic Development Corporation and includes the following counties: Cherokee, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury. Siouxland Economic Development Corporation is also a sponsor of the event.
Entrepreneurs earning prize money in the Dream Big Grow Here competition were Nicole Rozeboom of Hull, B.Fierce Boutique ($1,000), Breann White of Lester, Small Batch ($4,000) and Leann Kruger of Rock Rapids, Creative Edge ($2,000).
2017 DBGH winners 2 – Entrepreneurs earning prize money and judges in the Dream Big Grow Here competition were judge Ken Beekley, Siouxland Economic Development Corporation; N Nicole Rozeboom of Hull, B. Fierce Boutique ($1,000); Breann White of Lester, Small Batch ($4,000); judge Brandon Woudstra, American State Bank; Leann Kruger of Rock Rapids, Creative Edge ($2,000); and judge Kelly McCarty, retired Small Business Development Center.