Sponsoring Entrepreneurs for Entrefest


Cedar Rapids, IowaMay 16-17, 2019

Entrefest – Iowa’s Largest Entrepreneurial Gathering – May 16-17.

Opportunity Squared Regional Economic Development will be sponsoring 2 entrepreneurs to attend.

Based on the State of Entrepreneurship 2019 Report released by the Kauffman Foundation, “In a thriving ecosystem, entrepreneurship empowers individuals; improves standards of living; and creates jobs, wealth, and innovation in the economy. Yet, entrepreneurs face many barriers when turning their ideas into realities. Despite challenges, many Americans are finding ways to break through these barriers to successfully launch businesses and revitalize entrepreneurial ecosystems across the county.”Opportunity Squared is prepared to register two individuals from its nine-county area to attend and learn firsthand from entrepreneurs that have “Been There, Done That”.

Visit www.entrefest.com for more information and to see a schedule of speakers and topics.

Download an application HERE

Please email completed applications to: sstroh@ottumwaiowa.com

Complete this application and return by April 12th for your chance to attend on our dime. (This is a competitive process)

2018 State Legislature Candidates Forum   


(Updated October 16th, 2018) The previously announced 2018 State Legislature Candidates Forum, scheduled for Thursday, October 25th at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center has now been expanded to include a “Meet & Greet” with candidates running for the offices of Jefferson County Treasurer and Jefferson County Attorney. The Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Fairfield Arts & Convention Center and Fairfield Economic Development Association are hosting the event and want to provide their members and the community an opportunity to hear from the candidates. This event is free and open to the public. Elections take place Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

Schedule for Thursday, October 25th

• 5:30p.m. -6:30p.m.
Meet & Greet with candidates running for County Treasurer and County Attorney. This will be an informal format held in the atrium at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

County Treasurer candidates                   County Attorney candidates

Kesha Nelson (Lib.)                                    Tim Dille (Rep.) (Incumbent)
Mark Myers (Dem.)                                    Chauncey Moulding (Dem.)
Tammy Jones (Rep)

• 6:30p.m-7:00p.m.
Doors open in the Sondheim Theater for the State Legislature Forum. Attendees are encouraged to submit written questions during this time.

• 7:00p.m. -8:45p.m.
State Legislature Forum begins and will be moderated by Rustin Lippincott.

               Iowa Senate Dist. 41 candidates             Iowa House Dist.82 candidates

               Mary Stewart (Dem.)                                Phil Miller (Dem.) (Incumbent)
Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Rep.)         Jeff Shipley (Rep.)

Questions may be submitted prior to the event but no later than Tuesday, October 23rd by emailing Darien at the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce at: ceo@fairfieldiowa.com There will also be an opportunity to submit questions during the forum. For more information, contact Danielle at the Chamber by calling 641-472-2111

The Fairfield Arts & Convention Center is located at 200 North Main Street, Fairfield.

USDA Grant/Loan Announced for Fairfield Shell Building

Fairfield, Iowa, September 12th, 2018 – The USDA Rural Development has announced an economic development grant to be awarded to Access Energy Cooperative for a shell building in the Fairfield Business & Industrial Park. Once the grant is received, Access Energy Cooperative will loan the grant money of $300,000, plus $60,000 in matching funds, to the Fairfield Economic Development Association for construction of the shell building. Once the building is sold and the loan has been paid back, the money will become part of the Access Energy Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund to loan out to other local economic development projects.

Fairfield Economic Development Executive Director, Josh Laraby noted, “Access Energy Cooperative has been a vital partner in the new business park and shell building’s development, with their assistance on the sewer expansion, construction of the 3-phase electrical service to the park, and now financial assistance with the shell building project.”

              This is an artist rendering of the new Fairfield Business & Industrial Park on the south side of Fairfield. The proposed site plan is                                               subject to change. The rendering is provided by Fairfield Economic Development Association.

The City of Fairfield, Jefferson County, Fairfield Economic Development Association, Access Energy Cooperative, and Northeast Missouri Electric Power Cooperative are all members of a 28E Agreement that is moving forward with plans to construct a 30,000 sq. ft. shell building designed to attract new businesses or assist an existing business with expansion. The committee is in the process of finalizing project details and more information will be forthcoming.

For more information, contact:

Joshua Laraby
Executive Director
Fairfield Economic Development Association (FEDA)
101 North Court Street
Fairfield IA 52556

Kevin Wheeler
General Manager/CEO
Access Energy Cooperative
1800 West Washington Street
Mt. Pleasant IA 52641

2018 Educators in the Workplace

Educators in the Workplace has a simple goal- provide exposure of business and industry career paths to teachers, counselors, and administrators in southeast Iowa school systems so that they have a much better idea of what types of work are available for their students. Even if those students don’t have college plans, there many options for high-paying, long-term careers…

2018 Annual Fairfield Job Fair

IowaWORKS and Fairfield Economic Development Association will host our Annual Job Fair on Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center Expo Hall…


Fairfield Economic Development Association and the Sustainable Living Coalition are partnering up with the Food Finance Institue to host a Food Finance Boot Camp in Fairfield over the course of 4 days in April and May.

Boot Camp will do 4 things. 1. Optimize your business model for the industry. 2. Take a look at fixing your financial infrastructure. 3. Develop your financial plan. 4. Get ready to Raise Money.

Tera Johnson, Founder or Teras Whey now leads the Food Finance Institue is


• April 9, 9:30am to 5pm – Optimizing Your Business Model

• April 10, 8am to 4pm – Fixing Your Financial Infrastructure

• May 7, 9:30am to 5pm – Developing Your Financial Plan

• May 8, 8am to 4pm – Getting Ready to Raise Money

Location: S.E.E.D. Center Eco Barn, 2143 185 St. Fairfield 52556

Cost: $500 to attend all 4 days.

Registration: Closes Friday March 23rd, 2018. Boot Camp is limited to 10 participants.

For more information on WHY YOU SHOULD GO TO BOOT CAMP and information about HOW TO REGISTER visit www.growfairfield.com/bootcamp

SBA Announces FY 2018 Veterans Programming Schedule

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Iowa District Office and the Veterans Business Outreach Center announce a monthly Small Business Bootcamp webinar series for veterans, National Guard members, Reservists and their spouses to help start, build and grow their small business. The webinars will be held on the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and will be recorded and posted on the office’s website at www.sba.gov/ia.

Webinar topics include:

October 11 Veterans Business Outreach Center Resources
November 8 SBA Veterans Advantage Loan Program and other Small Business Financing Options
December 13 Iowa’s Targeted Small Business certification & TSB Microloan Program

Webinar topics will be announced in advance for the following dates:
January 10; February 14; March 14; April 11; May 9; June 13; July 11; August 15 and September 12.

Interested individuals can participate via AT&T Connect:

To join AT&T Connect Conference:
Click here: https://connect16.uc.att.com/sba/meet/?ExEventID=83740601
Call: 1-888-858-2144 – When prompted, enter the meeting access code: 4554497#

Boots to Business: Reboot Classes

The SBA also announced its schedule for the Boots to Business: Reboot classes for FY 2018. The free one-day training session introduces veterans to the fundamentals of business ownership and the key steps for evaluating business concepts and developing a business plan. The training is hosted by the SBA Iowa District Office and the Veterans Business Outreach Center and features additional presentations by SBA resource partners, including SCORE, America’s SBDC – Iowa (the Small Business Development Centers), and local bankers, lawyers and small business owners.

Boots to Business: Reboot is a two-step training program that provides participants an overview of business ownership as a career vocation, an outline and knowledge on the components of a business plan, a practical exercise in opportunity recognition, and an introduction to available public and private sector resources.

The initial program is followed up with one of two opportunities. Foundations of Entrepreneurship is an eight-week, online training (may be self-paced) course presented by a consortium of professors and skilled business advisors from the SBA network, Syracuse University. Mississippi State University offers a six-week online, interactive classroom focused on identifying and understanding customers; developing and refining a business mode; and drafting a business plan.

Please email the team at boot-to-business@sba.gov if you’ve attended a previous Reboot class, and haven’t yet taken, but are interested in taking the online course.

After completing Boots to Business: Reboot participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan, connect with local resources and launch their small business.

November Boots to Business: Reboot classes:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
University of Iowa’s Pappajohn Business Building
21 E. Market Street, Room W401
Iowa City, IA 52242.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Iowa State University Memorial Union, the Cardinal Room
2229 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50011.

Additional Boots to Business: Reboot classes are scheduled as follows:
• January 24, 2018 – DMACC in Ankeny
• April 11, 2018 – Upper Iowa University in Fayette
• May 22, 2018 – Iowa Army National Guard HQ in Cedar Rapids
• TBD – Iowa Army National Guard – Camp Dodge in Johnston
• TBD – Iowa Air National Guard – Sioux City

To register for Boots to Business: Reboot classes go to https://sbavets.force.com/ and create a profile for notification of future veterans training and events.

For more information, contact Jayne Armstrong at jayne.armstrong@sba.gov or (515) 284-4026.

2nd Annual Business Pitch Competition

Awards include more than $5,000 in cash plus startup assistance services.

Thanks to our sponsors below:





  • Entrepreneurs that are just getting started and have a great idea.
  • Business may be food based, manufacturing, service, retail or otherwise.
  • In business for two years or less with a total annual revenue under $250,000.
  • Must be an existing or proposed Fairfield based business.

How to Enter:

  • Submit your business plan information to Fairfield Economic Development Association on Gust.com. https://gust.com/organizations/fairfield-economic-development-association
  • Submission must include all required fields including financial projections, business plan and target market. Including optional fields suggested but not necessary.
  • Submissions are only viewable by the judge’s panel, though contestants are invited to create a public Gust profile so that potential investors can contact contestants.

Judging Criteria:

  • Business’s potential community impact (50% weight)
  • Entrepreneur’s preparedness to move business forward (25% weight)
  • Presentation quality (25% weight)


  • Submit everything via Gust.com by the application deadline: August 20th 2016.
  • The judging panel of experienced Fairfield entrepreneurs and businessmen will review submissions and select 3-4 finalists to participate in the formal pitch contest by August 27th.
  • If selected, contestants will be asked to present a 5-10 minute pitch to the judges, investors and audience Sept 1st between 3-5:30pm at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.
  • The winner(s) will be announced on the FairFest main stage.

Award Package:

  • $5,000 in cash towards project. Judges reserve right to split prize in the case of a split decision.
  • 3 hours of accounting services from CPA Tom Thompson.
  • An hour of legal assistance from Attorney Brandon Nelson.
  • 3 month new membership package to the Fairfield CoLab.

Questions can be directed to Fairfield Economic Development Association

Housing Development Workshop

Fairfield Economic Development Association is continuing its push for more home construction by hosting a free housing development workshop.

The workshop will be from 11 a.m. to noon, with additional meetings in the afternoon, Dec. 1 at the Fairfield CoLab, on the second floor of the Bonnell Building. The meeting will provide information to local landowners and investors who are thinking about building homes and developing whole subdivisions.

Glenn Lyons, a developer from Neighborhood Development Corporation in Des Moines will speak from 11 a.m. to noon. Lyons and representatives from FEDA and French-Reneker-Associates will be available after noon to discuss the development process, land engineering and available housing initiatives.

Any member of the public considering a housing project is welcome to set up a free consultation. Those wishing to attend are asked to respond to FEDA executive director Adam Plagge atadam.plagge@growfairfield.com and to inform him of whether they would like a one-on-one meeting with Lyons, FEDA or French-Reneker-Associates.

Lyons’s talk will focus on market analysis, market development, site selection, concept development, financial feasibility, sales and project evaluation.

Building a subdivision or even a single home can be a massive undertaking with so many things to consider. Plagge said the purpose of the meeting will be to make that process less daunting by filling gaps in developers’ knowledge of how to finance their project, manage engineering costs and navigate zoning codes.

Plagge said he hopes the meeting will spur home construction in Fairfield, which has not seen much of it in the past 5-10 years. Between 8-10 homes have been built each of the past several years, and he would like to see that number double to between 15-25 per year.