Four Marshalltown businesses are vying for a $5,000 grant highlighting small business innovation - and a chance to go on to win $10,000.
The Dream Big Grow Here Iowa Innovation contest is open to small business owners in Jasper, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Poweshiek and Stories Counties. Participants come up with an idea on which Internet users vote.
The top five vote-getters will pitch their idea to a panel of business experts at the Newton campus of the Des Moines Area Community College. Those experts then award the purse to the best plan.
T-R FILE PHOTO
Josh Weuve, 19, left, and Tyler Richard, 22, CEOs of Cryogen Computer Design are shown here in this file photo. The company is one of four local businesses vying for a $5,000 small business grant.
In Marshalltown, local businesses The Perfect Setting, Messy Missy's, Iowa River Brewing Company and Cryogen Design are competing for the grant.
Melissa Sharer-Pieters, owner of Messy Missy's, wants to expand her business, which makes art of out discarded furniture.
Similarly, Iowa River Brewing Company owner Roger Brown, whose business venture prompted the Marshalltown City Council to approve a zoning change to 107 N. First Ave., is also vying for the grant to help his upstart business.
To vote: Visit dreambiggrowhere.com and click on "vote" tab by noon Oct. 15.
votes and ranks as of Wednesday afternoon
Iowa River Brewing Company; rank: 7, votes: 267
Cyrogen Design; rank: 2, votes: 720
Messy Missy's; rank: 19; votes: 1
The Perfect Setting; rank: 10, votes: 105
Pam Swarts, owner of The Perfect Setting, plans to develop online and face-to-face workshops that help artists learn how to better market their work. The endeavor would benefit all those involved, she said, since artists would see an increase in profits, she would benefit from increased public interest in art and consumers would get to know artists better.
"If we win, all of our plates are fuller still," she said.
Tyler Richard's company Cryogen Design looks to extend prototypes to make 3-D printers that are easy to use for those without a heavy technical skill set.
"We would like to get a print that is able to print out of the box," he said.
He said those moving into Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields would benefit greatly from his company's project.
Winners of Dream Big Grow Here regional competitions across the state will have their ideas entered into a statewide competition for $10,000.
To vote for your favorite idea, visit dreambiggrowhere.com and click on the "vote" tab by noon Oct. 15.
Swarts said even if she doesn't win, she hopes one of the other Marshalltown businesses walks away with the honor.