MUM Receives USDA Rural Business Development Grant

Maharishi University of Management School of Business Awarded

USDA Rural Business Development Grant

Written by David Goodman
Maharishi University of Management


Maharishi University of Management (MUM) has received a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) for $46,510.00. This program is designed to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas.

This technical assistance project officially started on September 1, 2017.  It will focus on education, training and mentoring of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the City of Fairfield and Jefferson County, Iowa. There will be 15 one-hour seminars and 20 important topics in four-hour workshops taught by MUM faculty members and invited guests.

These education and training programs will be open to the general citizenry and will be publicized through emails, advertisements, and posters.

The topics to be chosen for the education and training will assist in further:

  1. Enhancing the abilities of entrepreneurs to formulate successful business proposals; and
  2. Improving the abilities of small businesses to conduct their business successfully.

In the first month of the project, area entrepreneurs and small businesses will be surveyed to determine the 15 topics of one-hour seminars and the 20 topics of four-hour workshops.

The economic development result will be the creation and retention of jobs in the City of Fairfield and, more broadly, Jefferson County.

This grant will be administered by David Goodman and Maharishi University of Management School of Business. Partners include the Fairfield Economic Development Association, Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Fairfield Co Lab, SCORE, Fairfield Entrepreneur Association, Pathfinder’s RC & D and others.

For further information, please contact David Goodman at 641-451-1793. The email address is:


September 5, 2017









 Download here


Contact Person:

Deann De Groot

Mahaska County Ag & Rural Development Director


Closing Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, September 14, 2017


Opportunity2 is a not for profit collaborative regional economic development group made up of economic development professionals representing 9 different counties in Southeast Iowa.

• Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lucas, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe and Wapello counties.

The Opportunity2 economic development group works collaboratively with the communities, local agencies, organizations and businesses in its 9-county region to develop and implement strategies and programs that assist in strengthening and growing our regional economy.

Our vision is to maintain a healthy economic climate while identifying and pursuing new economic growth opportunities.

Our mission is to drive economic development in our 9-county region.


2.1 Project Description

To create original written content to send out as news/media stories regarding the unique success of the manufacturing sector in the Opportunity2 region, by broadcasting economic development highlights. Southeast Iowa has a diverse portfolio of advanced manufacturing firms that are traditional, innovative, creative, and global.


Opportunity2 is looking for a professional content writer to interview key business and community leaders, collect information, and write and edit original articles to create awareness of the:

• Diversity of manufacturing in our region

• Amount of manufacturing in our region

• Benefits of manufacturing in our region

• Uniqueness of manufacturing in our region

• Successful manufacturing entrepreneurial stories in our region and;

• “Did you know surprises…” of manufacturing in our region

The goal is to create written content that educates local businesses, local residents, non-local businesses and non-local residents on the success of manufacturing in our 9-county region. The content should be developed in a way that it can be used for news from our economic development group, but also it should be developed in such a way that it can equally be used to market our region to outside manufacturing firms and start up businesses.

The written content will be cross-promoted on the Opportunity2 website and social media channels (by existing staff) along with each of Economic Development Organization’s that make up Opportunity2, and their organization’s websites and social media channels.


The project scope will include creating written content that includes but is not limited to the following:

I. Organize, lead and conduct interviews with manufacturing businesses and or key community leaders identified by Opportunity2, to collect sufficient information to develop and write the stories/narratives/articles

II. Create stories/narratives/articles about individual local manufacturing businesses and entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector in our region, highlighting how they contribute to the diversity, the amount and the uniqueness of the manufacturing sector in our region along with the benefits manufacturing business see in doing business in our region.

III. In addition, additional options would be developing stories/narratives/articles around manufacturing entrepreneurial success articles or “did you know-shock factor” themed stories/narratives/articles.

IV. The Opportunity2 officers who are economic development professional’s, will assist with providing general article angles that they would like to see highlighted and the contact persons in the region that would be interview candidates. Opportunity2 may partner during the interview process.


I. 400-500-word stories/narratives /articles

• number of stories TBD, pending bid cost per story

II. (1) 1,000-1,200-word story or narrative as a final piece, highlighting the common threads from the individual stories or narratives.

III. All stories or narratives should be submitted both in a PDF and Microsoft Word document. A consistent and simple font, font size and formatting should be used throughout the project. No design in the formatting, as Opportunity2 will be placing the text into its own design formatting on its online and print based media.

IV. (2) story specific and relatable pictures per article in a jpg. or png file format

V. Once hired and contracted, the work should start immediately.

VI. All project work is to be completed and submitted by November, 22,2017


Opportunity2 will take into consideration such matters as it considers appropriate in selecting the Proponent. Those maters will include, but are not limited to:

• Understanding/Interest in the region and its growth.

• Proposed methodology

• Proponent office location

• Experience and qualifications;

• Fees and disbursements;

• Schedule and;

• Reference checks

Decision making will be based on objective assessment of the criteria mentioned in the selection process.

RFP Proponents will be notified on or before September 22nd, 2017 with the final selection announcement. Selected RFP proponents should be available to meet in Ottumwa on September 22, 25 or 26 with the Opportunity2 Board for final selection.


Data collected from these articles will be used for sharing information on economic development in the Opportunity2 region and for increasing Opportunity2’s network and presence.

Data and information shall not be used for individual interest that are not related to the goals of this project.

On submission of the articles, Opportunity2 will own its content and be free to use the information for any purpose. All information, digital and or hard copies, commissioned by Opportunity2 or its partners, shall remain the property of Opportunity2.


Opportunity2 has purposely not released a formal cost of this service and is expecting proponents to submit a budget breakdown with the proposals that will fully consider the established goals and objectives. Opportunity2 will select the proposal that best fits the project goals with an appropriate budget.

Opportunity2 expects to receive proposals that will fully consider the established scope and goals and objectives of the project and as such will select the proposals that best fits the project goals with an appropriate budget.

Proposal’s pricing must be firm for the entire contract period.


1. Proposals shall be sent to Deann De Groot no later than 5:00p.m. CST on September 14, 2017

2. Proposals will not be open to the public.

3. Though Opportunity2 fully intends at this time to proceed through the RFP, in order to select the services, Opportunity2 is under no obligation to proceed to the purchase. The receipt by Opportunity2 of any information (including any submissions, ideas, plans, drawings, models or other materials communicated or exhibited by any intended Proponent, or on its behalf) shall not impose any obligations on Opportunity2. There is no guarantee by Opportunity2 or its officers that the process initiated by the issuance of this RFP will continue, or that the RFP process or any RFP process will result in a contract with Opportunity2 for the purchase of equipment, service or project.

4. Opportunity2 reserves the right to seek Proposal clarification with the Proponents to assist in making evaluations

5. The successful Proponent selected will be authorized to proceed upon approval from Opportunity2.


• A list of similar work undertaken as well as the names and contact information for three recent projects

• Proponents understanding of the context, issues and ultimate objects of the project

• Proposed methodology

• A complete cost breakdown for fees that include travel expenses, meeting times and interview time.

• Schedule


• Proponents will fully describe the proposed fee structure and must clearly quote any additional charges that may be applicable and which have not already been

• Proponents will clearly include any/all costs that are allowed will also allow for the necessary meetings and notifications required for the project.


Sub-contracting is not permitted.

9.0 Liability for Errors

While Opportunity2 has used considerable efforts to ensure an accurate representation of information in this RFP, the information contained in this RFP is supplied solely as a guideline for Contractors. The information is not guaranteed or warranted to be accurate by Opportunity2, it’s officers or representatives, nor is it necessarily comprehensive or exhaustive. Nothing in this RFP is intended to relieve Contractors from forming their own opinions and conclusion with respect to the matters addressed in this RFP.