Iowa State University's business and technical assistance programs have been valuable and impactful to both startup and existing Iowa companies. The application of university discoveries, technology, educational opportunities, and counseling has proved to be a driving force of statewide innovation, job creation, and economic impact.
Falling under the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations, two programs have provided business and technical assistance and training to thousands of companies across Iowa.
Small Business Development Centers
(SBDC) assists businesses and new entrepreneurs grow their businesses and improve internal operations to ensure continued success. It achieves its purpose by providing educational opportunities through workshops, but primarily and most effectively, through one-on-one counseling. Such counseling is, by Congressional mandate, provided at no cost to the client.
Iowa State administers the statewide network, which is comprised of 15 regional centers. The SBDC serving all 99 Iowa counties assisted 3,913 clients last year, helping to create 1,828 jobs and start 283 new businesses. Additionally, the SBDC helped clients raise $108 million in capital infusion and increase sales by $111.6 million.
CIRAS provided business and technical assistance to 1,616 businesses from 96 Iowa counties last year, helping to create or retain 5,741 jobs. Companies responding to surveys reported nearly $680 million of total economic impact. The numbers include: $600 million in sales gained or retained; $44 million in new investments; $35 million in costs saved or avoided.
Together, these two programs have an economic impact of $915 million in Iowa, and that doesn't account for the job creation and retention they facilitate. The SBDC and CIRAS are necessary for the long-term growth of a sustainable, innovation economy that position Iowa to be competitive in a global market.