Best Small Business Resources in the Iowa City Area

Small map with pin depicting Iowa City, IA

Starting a business is a life-changing experience. Iowa has dozens of great resources to help entrepreneurs get started. Our team researched and vetted organizations in the Iowa City area and compiled our list of recommended resources in this article.

You can also read our guide to starting a business in Iowa.

Resources Available in your Area

University of Iowa: John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Networking

Offers Free Service

Description

University of Iowa's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center offers a few programs to the community. Venture School is a comprehensive six-week intensive training program with a rigorous curriculum that aims to mimic the process of creating a startup. The business consulting program allows community members to seek help for their startup or business free of charge. Each consulting team is comprised of 3-5 students under the guidance of an experienced mentor and faculties at the University of Iowa. The Institute for International Business offers business consulting services (similar to the business consulting in 2) as well as online CGBP exam prep. The CGBP (Certified Global Business Professional) is good for people who work in a field related to international trade. If you’re a UI student, faculty, or staff, there are more business support programs just for university affiliates. Annual International Entrepreneurial Summit is a panel discussion comprised of business professionals from the U.S. and abroad focusing on a variety of business and entrepreneurial topics. This event is open to the public.


Iowa City SCORE

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Networking

Offers Free Service

Description

SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) is a leading, nation-wide organization that has assisted millions of entrepreneurs over its 50+ years of operation. SCORE is a resource partner of the SBA that offers access to a network of experienced business leaders who donate time to mentor entrepreneurs and small business owners. They also host free or inexpensive workshops online and at 300 local chapters around the United States. Mentoring can be conducted either in person or remotely and is always free and confidential, no matter how often you take advantage of this service.


MERGE

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Coworking
  • Networking

Offers Free Service

Description

Part of the IC Colab, MERGE is a coworking space that has offices located in Iowa City and North Liberty. They offer several options for membership ranging from a daily drop-in to a monthly plan, either during 8 am - 5 pm or after hours. All plans include networking opportunities and access to 3D printing facilities. MERGE's space also includes a Protostudio for biomedical and electronics prototyping.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

136 S Dubuque Street
Iowa City, IA 52240
319-354-3939
officeadmin@icadgroup.com

HOURS OF OPERATION:

MON - FRI: 8 am - 5 pm


University of Iowa SBDC

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Financial

Offers Free Service

Description

The greatest strength of the SBDC is their free, confidential, 1-on-1 business mentoring for anyone who seeks it. Sometimes in order to be considered for mentoring from one of their professional business advisors, you may have to attend a class/workshop or at least present your business plan. SBDC's are located all throughout the state and you should use the SBDC closest to your location if possible, but you can often transfer to a different location if they do not fit your needs.