Entrepreneur Competition Kick-Starts Local Business Ventures

By Julia Mericle
The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Calling all Ohio entrepreneurs!!!! There is still time to apply for the “Des Moines County Entrepreneur Competition.” A total of $8,000 in cash and other business assistance will be awarded to the winning businesses. Last year Jamie Grabowski, owner of “Pinned It Creations”, won first place. She started up her DIY craft business in 2016 with privately scheduled “pallet painting parties.”

The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa

Jamie Grabowski leads Pinterest-inspired workshops. Michelle Kuster counsels people on nutrition. Ann March offers daycare and boarding for dogs.

While these three business owners each provide different services to the Burlington community, they got their businesses off the ground with the help of the Des Moines County Entrepreneur Competition.

The annual competition, an initiative by the Greater Burlington Partnership, aims to “foster new entrepreneurism,” according to the 2018 official rules.

Anyone with a “new, independent, for-profit venture in the seed or start-up stages in Des Moines County” can apply for the competition until Feb. 8. Registration opened on Jan. 2.

Participating entrepreneurs will meet with a panel of judges through several stages of the business plan process.
A total of $8,000 in cash and other business assistance will be awarded to the winning businesses.

Grabowski, owner of Pinned It Creations, won first place in the 2017 contest. She started up her DIY craft business in August 2016 with privately scheduled “pallet painting parties.”

When that quickly gained momentum, Grabowski entered the entrepreneur competition, which helped her open a physical store in July. She said the judges challenged her and helped her set goals.

“It’s nice to have that support,” Grabowski said. “And even after the competition I meet up with [the judges] quarterly to help me succeed past the contest.”

The Greater Burlington Partnership awarded Grabowski $5,000, a $2,000 marketing package, a 2017 Greater Burlington Partnership membership and a $100 a month allowance for a year.

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