FAYETTE, Iowa (January 16, 2012) -- Upper Iowa University (UIU) is once again looking for an entrepreneur who wants to do business in Fayette. UIU has opened the annual application process for its Upper Iowa Business Development (UIBD) grant, which offers up to $100,000 to start a new business, relocate a current business, or expand an existing business within the city limits of Fayette.
The UIBD grant was established through an initial $500,000 endowment donated to UIU by long-time benefactors Bob and Betty Firth in support of entrepreneurship. Since the endowment was established, the UIBD grant has helped fund renovations at Fayette Flooring, and helped build SK Rogers Funeral Home and Victories Restaurant and Sports Lounge.
"Since the founding of the University in 1857, UIU has been committed to the economic health of our community," said UIU President Alan G. Walker. "We are the largest employer in the county, and Fayette is home to hundreds of University students, faculty and staff members who live, work or shop in the community. We believe that we have a responsibility to help sustain and grow the resources of our home community to benefit all of us, and we have included that commitment as one of the nine initiatives in the University's strategic plan."
Walker noted that the University is in the midst of a sustained period of growth. University-wide enrollment has increased in each of the past seven years, with aggressive enrollment targets in sight for continued growth. The current UIU capital improvement project has already seen the addition of several buildings and other renovations on the Fayette campus, and the University is in the midst of constructing a football stadium complex, courtesy of a $7.5 million gift. UIU also is pursuing a $25 million goal for its first-ever capital campaign to continue the UIU transformation.
"We believe the Fayette area should be a co-beneficiary of UIU growth," Walker added. "It helps both the university and the city to have a thriving community with a variety of resources."
Andrew Wenthe, UIU vice president for external affairs, noted that UIU established the eCenter to oversee the grant and to work with area businesses, the city and county on various economic development initiatives. This year's UIBD grant is unrestricted as to the type of business that will be considered, Wenthe added. Applicants must include a business plan, which fully describes the business, and its potential for growth and sustainability. UIU will work with the applicant to determine if additional funding opportunities are available.
"An extremely important element of the successful proposal is to excite the community and to create jobs for students and others," Wenthe said. "Applicants are encouraged to visit Fayette and talk to faculty, staff, students and residents to learn what they would like to see in Fayette."
Applications for the UIBD grant are available online at www.uiu.edu/uibd. Application deadline is 5 p.m. (CDT) on Friday, April 20, 2012.
Wenthe said the UIBD committee can decide to award the grant before the deadline if it receives an exceptional application for a significantly worthy project.
"We strongly encourage early application," he added.
For more information, contact Wenthe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 563-425-5348.
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to over 6,800 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study.
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