Saturday, June 29, 2013

Full Iowa County economic development progress report now available

We've just released our new economic development progress report.

Our Iowa County Area Economic Development Corp. has been a completely new kind of startup for me.

This report documents some of the positive outcomes from our first 4 1/2 years of hard work.

The organization is a 501(c)6 nonprofit corporation.  I joined as its founding Director.

Our economic development plan focused on three primary outcomes:   (1) Help existing businesses, (2) Help create new businesses and new entrepreneurs, and (3) Promote Iowa County entrepreneurship and business climate.

I'm very proud of our results. 

This report features a collection of 22 local small business success stories.  Food entrepreneurship figures prominently in more than half of these.

The others focus on a wide cross-section of leading manufacturers, bankers, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, educators, small business owners, new businesses, local officials, and organizations from around the region and country.

From the link below you can quickly scan contents, read a 1 page summary, and also read the full report.

Thanks to all involved.  What a wonderful place.  What a startup! 

Link to our economic development report.  Summer 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Timeline worn proudly on my 35 year old thermos

The older Stanley thermos in the photo is my traveling companion of 35 years.  It's been with me through decades of business travel across the country and never let me down.

When my wife and I got married 35 years ago, we registered at the Ace Hardware store in Streator, IL.

I didn't know anything about registering for wedding gifts.   Mary told me to pick out something I could really use.  I fell in love with a beautiful Stanley thermos.  Mary and I and that thermos have been together ever since.

When I look at the photo, all that wear and tear feels like an entrepreneurship timeline to me.

I carried that thermos everywhere for a couple of decades while we built and grew Banner Graphics.

I carried it everywhere for a decade as we developed our inventions, launched and grew SmartSkim.

I've carried it with me for 5+ years through the startup of Business Diligence and now our Iowa County Area Economic Development Corp. and the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

In the photo of my old thermos, I think I can still feel all those dents and scrapes, hard won from entrepreneurship efforts across different decades and industries.

I salute the great Stanley thermos.  The motto stamped into the base of my old thermos says 'It will not break'.

Great products and great stories can say that.

The Stanley Thermos

Thanks to daughter Anne for my new Stanley thermos for Father's Day!  The 100 Year Anniversary edition of my old friend.  I've used my first thermos for more than a third of the 100 year history of this great product.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Yours is considered a model approach to building a food system, which is the foundation for a vibrant rural economy."

Telling great stories and developing great partners is at the heart of successful business development.

This is another story in our ongoing economic development report from Iowa County, WI.

The USDA has been supportive of our story from the beginning.

USDA Rural Development in Wisconsin provided low interest loans to the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen for their walk-in freezer and cooler.

We hosted a great visit by the State Directors of USDA Rural Development from Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.

I also work with friends at USDA Food and Nutrition Service.  

Alan Shannon runs a valuable monthly gathering of food-focused organizations in the Midwest with the goal of developing regional collaboration.  I've enjoyed participating in GoodGreens and also grateful to be asked to make a presentation recently.

I'm especially thankful to Alan for his emphasis on the value of a great story.

Great stories create action steps.  The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen story a call to action.

Thank you Alan Shannon, USDA, FNS:

"I want to let you know that as facilitator of GoodGreens, a Midwest collaboration of
nearly 300 organizations, businesses and farmers seeking to establish a sustainable local food system I’m very appreciative of the work that you and Innovation Kitchen do.

Two weeks ago I was in Appalachian Ohio and even there they had heard of the important work that you are doing.

In fact, I hear your name and Innovation Kitchen mentioned frequently during my travels and conversations around the Midwest.

Yours is considered a model approach to building a food system, which is the foundation for a vibrant rural economy.

Thanks for the work that you do and congratulations on your successes to-date. We’re excited to see your model as it continues to grow."

Alan Shannon, Director
Public Affairs, Food and Nutrition Service, Midwest Region
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Thank you Alan.   And thanks to all our other great partners in the region and friends world wide!

Iowa County Area Economic Development

Sunday, June 09, 2013

"Our business is up and running thanks to Rick and the ICAEDC!!!"

This is from a new report I'm working on about our economic development work in Iowa County, Wisconsin (ICAEDC) 
I love family run small businesses.  Terry Olson is a great example of how a new family business can help energize a downtown.  Go Terry and family!

Terry opened her smart new business, Time and Again Vintage, on the main Street of Dodgeville,  in Iowa County, WI.

People are now coming from all over the region to shop at Terry's new business.  I'm proud to have helped. 

Time and Again Vintage.

“This area is blessed to have Rick and the ICAEDC!!! 

Starting up a business is overwhelming. 

Rick walked us through links on the EDC site and coached us on each step throughout the process.  LLC, EIN, State Tax Number, WHAT???  Rick told us which step to start with from start to finish… from naming our business to applying for a State Tax Number.   He was always just a phone call away.

Rick has such a positive attitude!  He makes you feel like anything is possible.

He definitely cares about the local communities and small business start-ups!!  He has a very caring heart! 

We are deeply grateful to Rick for the many questions he willingly answered and steps he walked us through. 

Our business is up and running thanks to Rick and the ICAEDC!!!”

Terry Olson, Owner

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Iowa County, WI. Entrepreneurship options help create 28 new jobs. Bob's 'Bad Word' BBQ. New restaurant brings buzz to downtown Dodgeville. Good food = Good economic development.

Jobs and economic development news from the Iowa County, WI area...

Bob's Bitchin' BBQ.

Bob Page is the entrepreneur behind this great food story - Bob's Bitchin' BBQ.  Annette Pierce (Food Service Director at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, and Mistress of the Universe) and I helped bring Bob's amazing BBQ sauces to market.

The WI Innovation Kitchen (WINK) was able to prepare Bob's recipes in smaller, affordable batches under certified commercial kitchen standards. 

Bob started with his Original flavor first.  When he expanded online and through farmer's markets he added new flavors.

It was really fun to help all this develop.  I'm proud that I drove and unloaded the delivery truck when needed.

So... next thing you know Bob leaves his job and opens a very cool new BBQ restaurant in downtown Dodgeville.  Right across the street from our historic courthouse.

What a fun journey.

Our focus on entrepreneurship helped bring this very cool food entrepreneur and his wonderful products to market.  We helped Bob grow from concept to execution to growth.  The results include good local jobs and a new vibrancy in downtown Dodgeville.

I often bring out of town entrepreneurs to Bob's Bitchin' BBQ for lunch.  Nice way to tell our regional economic development story and eat like BBQ royalty all at once.

Thank you Bob's Bitchin' BBQ:

“Iowa County Area Economic Development has been key to helping me start my new business in Iowa County. 
This support has led to my being able to open a new restaurant in downtown Dodgeville, now employing 28 people.

The options Rick Terrien helped provide my new business were instrumental in this process.  Dodgeville and Iowa County are now benefiting from the results of those efforts.” 

Bob Page, Owner
Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ.  Dodgeville, WI 

Bob's Bitchin' BBQ 

Iowa County Area EDC site.   Our rotating news feed includes more stories like Bob's Bitchin' BBQ.