Sat 01 Aug 2015 | By:

76 Best Resources for Starting a Business in Iowa

Resources for Starting a Business

Iowa, ranked 6th in the top states to start a business in the U.S ranked first in the lowest cost for starting a business, 10th with the best economy, 12th in business friendliness, and 20th in the most educated workforce to mention a few categories.

Although the state is often viewed as an agricultural and farming state, this field plays a little role on its diverse and large economy. In the late 2000’s recession, Iowa was one of the most outstanding states who weathered the difficulties in the economic downturn and employment rate.

To help make your journey as an entrepreneur a little easier, we’ve put together a list of the 79 best resources for starting a business in Iowa.


Iowa Small Business Resources

1) Small Business Resources

Small Business Resources is a financial firm, however, it further helps clients by providing small business resources such as links to valuable financial tools specifically up-to-date tax, business and financial news articles, financial calculators, a tax calendar that contains important filing dates, federal and state tax links and a financial page. They also give you links so you can track your federal and state tax refunds.

2) Iowa City Chamber of Commerce

The Iowa City Chamber of Commerce is a network composed of more than 1,000 members; the organization aims to actively foster an excellent business environment through community and economic development. They serve the community by offering small business resources and tools to aspiring entrepreneurs.

3) Iowa SBDC

The Iowa SBDC is a government agency that helps small business owners transform their business ideas into real business ventures. They will assist you in developing your concept and will advise you on how to translate your ideas into reality. They will also help you in the entire process of planning and launching your small business; you can even request free counseling if you want. Available business plan templates, forms, financial worksheets, how-to guides on making a marketing plan and strategic plan are also listed in their site.

4) Cherokee Area Economic Development

The Cherokee Area Economic Development is a government initiative with the main goal of helping entrepreneurs start a small business and overcome the many challenges of building one. They are available to assist both existing and new small businesses. The agency has also listed several resources which are available for free or at minimal cost.

5) Entrepreneurial Development Council

Incorporated in 2003, EDC is a community-sponsored business accelerator. EDC’s mission is to provide economic growth through the creation and expansion of high-impact Iowa businesses. From start-ups to well-established entities, EDC is focused on fostering innovation and creating vital and diversified entrepreneurial communities. EDC provides guided professional and business direction, networking and educational programs, and connection to qualified community and state resources. While working with both emerging and existing Iowa-based businesses, EDC supports the development and commercialization of new products, services and technologies.

6) Iowa City Downtown District

The Iowa City Downtown District is an expert in rendering services to small businesses in the state of Iowa. The business association has evolved since its start in 1839 and they’ve assisted thousands of small businesses succeed. They’ve continually developed programs and services that will help the small business community. The association also offers small business resources and tools that can help aspiring entrepreneurs all throughout the business cycle.

7) Biz Source Iowa

Peggy Patrick is the founder of Biz Source Iowa. As an independent contractor and sole proprietor with over 40 years of experience in the business industry, she understands the needs and struggles of small business owners, thus, she developed Biz Source Iowa as a way of utilizing her wealth of experience and gaining new experience to help small businesses in the Des Moines area.

8) Perspective Insurance

Perspective Insurance is a firm that offers affordable small business insurance in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota. They assist you by protecting your investments and assets. Perspective Insurance educates you on insurance policies and will help you choose the best small business insurance for your startup. They also offer business advice for numerous clients such as manufacturers, contractors, government entities, schools, retail stores and a lot more.

9) Rush on Business

The man behind Rush on Business, Attorney Rush Nigut of Brick Gentry P.C.  has created an affordable online service targeted towards helping small business owners and entrepreneurs in Iowa. Aside from providing legal services, he also has a list of available resources and guides which can assist them as they start and grow their business.

10) is a one-stop resource website that specifically helps for small businesses in the Southeastern Iowa community. The site distributes information and resources in a variety of platforms and channels to assist small business owners as they build their dream business. Some of the specific areas they focus on include business and marketing strategies, featuring helpful weekly blog posts and media kits.

11) The Des Moines Business Mixer

The Des Moines Business Mixer group is an association that aims to mix fun and business altogether. It connects business owners, managers, professionals, start-ups, freelancers, entrepreneurs, investors, interns, marketers, bloggers and other business professionals in the Des Moines Area to interact and work together to create innovative ideas. The association holds events and workshops and encourages professionals to join their social media groups and monthly meeting to bring the community together.

12) The Iowa Small Business Website

The Iowa Small Business Website was created to help entrepreneurs create and grow their small businesses. In the site, you’ll be able to find out tips for starting and growing a business, income tax saving ideas, free small business workshops, links to other business sites, free resources and a lot more.

13) Business Record

Business Record is a professional business blog that features articles on a variety of topics such as accounting/finance, business law, business management, buying/selling a business, marketing and branding, human resource and leadership and many more.

14) Iowa Economic Development

Iowa Economic Development is a government association that aims to provide resources so that entrepreneurs can grow their business. The site has available resources in the form of PDF’s which cover topics such as environment requirements, providers, funding programs and many more. They also have a list of supporting content that will help you immensely.

15) Startup Iowa

Startup Iowa is a business organization made possible by more than 100 contributors in the state. The organization provides you with the information you need so you can start your small business with ease. It features articles about entrepreneurship and sets up fairs and business events that entrepreneurs can attend. The site also has an entrepreneur directory and an events calendar.

16) Iowa Venture Capital Association

Iowa Venture Capital Association is a government initiative of Iowa with the goal of helping the startup community thrive in the state. To be able to do this, the association provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with state assistance, a list of accelerators and incubators, business resources and startup events.


Free Iowa Startup Guides

1) How to Start a Business in Iowa

Starting a business is challenging, you need to go through a lot of document preparation and you may even have to study the process yourself. To make things easier for you, we made this simple guide to help you go through every step in building your business. The guide also has available resources that you can use to even make your workload lighter.

2) How to Form an LLC in Iowa

A Limited Liability Company will give you a major advantage in business, it will even protect you from any form of liability and give your business the right to due process. Forming one is so easy if you use this 5-step guide along with some credible resources that are not only efficient, but also affordable.

3) How to File a DBA in Iowa

Filing a DBA in Iowa is necessary if you want to operate your business under a totally different name other than what you are using now. To help you file your DBA as quickly as possible, this 3-step guide has all the information you need, plus, bonus resources to assist you in building your business.

4) How to Finance a Business in Iowa

Among all the tasks of starting a business, looking for financing or working capital may just be the hardest. If you’re having a headache looking for one, this guide discusses 5 excellent resources with links to get you started. Explore every option and see which one best fits your business needs.

5) How to Get an Iowa Registered Agent

Your Iowa Registered Agent is a third party professional who will represent you and your company and receive important legal documents when you’re away. Knowing that she/he may receive pertinent documents, the need to hire the most competent and professional one is a must. This guide will discuss with you the requirements and restrictions of hiring a Registered Agent and some options that you can use during the screening process.

6) How to Form a Corporation in Iowa

Many businesses in the United States are formed as Corporations because they can provide you with numerous benefits and advantages. Forming a corporation however is a complicated process. To assist you through every step, you can read this simple guide which has available resources that you can use to efficiently start a Corporation in Iowa.

7) How to Incorporate in Iowa

Incorporating is a must when doing business in Iowa, or in any other state. To give you a detailed and comprehensive view of the requirements and steps involved in the process, this easy-to-understand 4-step guide will guide you from start to finish. It basically has everything you need, plus some additional resources you can use.




SCORE is a non-profit organization made up of experienced and expert business professionals and consultants who came together to create a network that provides free mentorship and coaching to new entrepreneurs and small business owners across the United States. The goal of the organization is to educate young and budding entrepreneurs so that they can continue to promote economic development in the country.

2) SBA

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a government agency and the largest provider of small business resources and tools in the country. The aim of the agency is to assist both new and existing small business owners in the U.S. to start, manage and grow their enterprise. They also provide local assistance, loans and grants and business management training.

3) Startup Savant

Startup Savant is a free online business magazine that aims to simplify entrepreneurship for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. It features hundreds of state-specific articles which will truly help you as you start a small business. If you need assistance, you can read Startup Savant’s articles and see which small business resources fit your company. The site is not only crazy about entrepreneurship, Startup Savant is also all about giving back to the community.

4) is a popular business website that has all the information you need about entrepreneurship and business. The website gives you the latest trends and practices in the small business industry; you can also read numerous guides that will give you tips and ideas to follow when starting and running a business. Gain access to numerous tools and resources as well – basically has everything!

5) AllBusiness

AllBusiness is another business magazine that provides entrepreneurs like you with the information you need to start, manage and grow your small business. AllBusiness doesn’t only release the latest news about business, they also conduct studies that assess and evaluate the status and health of the small business industry in the country.


Wealthy Gorilla is an inspirational website that everyone can gain access to if they want to stay motivated and encourage themselves to work even harder. It features true-life articles of people who were able to make a difference in their lives and to the world through determination and perseverance. The website also has numerous articles that will give you tips and advice on how to start and run your business efficiently.


Funding Resources in Iowa

1) Farm Bureau Financial Services

Farm Bureau Financial Services is an organization that meets the specific needs of farms and Farm Bureau members. Aside from this, they also provide training and education in the form of online learning, classroom training, and a mentoring program to entrepreneurs who want to build a small business. Most importantly, they offer support in the form of financial services.

2) Iowa Business Growth

The Iowa Business Growth also known as the IBG is a partner organization of the SBA that executes the 504 loan program. The organization is fully dedicated to assisting small business owners in the state of Iowa with their funding needs. The IBG is a certified development company “CDC” that has assisted 650 Iowa small business loans to date.

3) BankIowa

The BankIowa is a financial institution that offers flexible and accessible financing products that will assist your business in achieving its full potential. Regardless if you’re looking for funding for new equipment or to start a new business, BankIowa will help you achieve them by supporting your goals. A few of the loans available at the institution are business loans, SBA loans, agricultural loans, line of credit and more.

4) Iowa Microloan

The Iowa Micro Loan program is designed to help residents of Iowa to build their business dream and own their small business so they can sustain a better life for their families. They offer financing or refinancing for startups, financing of loans of $5,000 up to $50,000 within a 6 year term, co-financing, approval within 10 days, annual technical assistance, local team building assistance and improvement of credit score through the Iowa Microloan reporting.

5) Iowa Center

The Iowa Center is an organization that specifically helps women, people of color, individuals with disabilities and U.S. veterans in applying for loans to start a small business. They offer business loans of up to $50,000, fixed interest rates, fixed monthly payments, no prepayment penalties and up to 5 year loan terms.

6) Des Moines Metro Credit Union

The Des Moines Metro Credit Union is a financial institution that offers small business loans together with the Community Business Lenders. The credit union offers a variety of loans specific to your borrowing needs. Some of them include the SBA 504 loans, SBA 7(a) loans, real estate loans and revolving lines of credit.

7) Cornerstone Community Credit Union

The Cornerstone Community Credit Union is a financing organization that offers business loans to its members since 2008. The aim of the organization is to assist members who want to start or expand a business in the state of Iowa. To provide better services, the credit union partnered with the Community Business Lenders and the Iowa Credit Union League. Some of the types of loans available are business expansion, equipment purchases, business purchases, revolving lines of credit, term loans, and SBA loans.

8) IA Source Link

The IA Source Link provides numerous financial resources to support business growth through direct financial assistance and tax incentives. Some of the funding services they have are direct financial assistance, venture capital fund, tax incentives, angel/seed fund serving Iowa, revolving loan fund and a lot more.

9) Community Savings Bank

The Community Savings Bank is a private financing institution that provides small businesses and entrepreneurs with working capital and loans to start and grow their startups. The bank assures you of outstanding rates, affordable payments and generous credit limits. With a professional loan staff, they’ll help you with local decision making with many options available.

10) Iowa State Savings Bank

The Iowa State Savings Bank has an experienced staff of commercial lenders who will work with you to build a lending program specific to the needs of your business.  Some of the services offered are revolving lines of credit for short-term operating needs, capital for startup expenses or business expansion, term loans, equipment loans, SBA loans and a lot more.

11) Home State Bank

The Home State Bank is a local Iowa bank that offers small business loans to entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the state. If found eligible, the bank has several loans available to assist you as you build your business.  Some of the most common business loans are operating capital, tool purchases and building purchase or renovation.

12) Fort Madison

Fort Madison is a government agency that offers local loans such as the Fort Madison Revolving Loan Fund, Regional Revolving Loan Fund, Economic Development Administration Revolving Loan Fund and state loans such as the Community Economic Betterment Account, Demonstration Fund, Iowa Finance Authority HOME Program, Iowa MicroLoan, Iowa Small Business Loan Program and a lot more.

13) Main Street Guthrie Center

Main Street Guthrie Center is a private financing company that offers numerous business grants. The goal of the company is to promote economic development by supporting community partnerships. The MSGC Business Grant Award Program is available to small businesses that are currently operating in the Main Street District.

14) Madison County Development Group

The Madison County Development Group promotes local economic development activity by creating a revolving loan fund. Some of the financing services available are the Tax Increment Financing (TIF), New Jobs Training Program (260E program), Jobs Training Program (260F program), Financial Assistance Programs, Iowa Targeted Small Business Loans and many others.

15) Iowa Women’s Foundation

The Iowa Women’s Foundation is a gender focused support group that aims to empower women by offering numerous grants to help women and girls achieve their dreams. The organization has partnered with several institutions and government agencies to be able to provide financing support to women entrepreneurs.


Iowa Startup Communities

1) Iowa Startup Accelerator

The Iowa Startup Accelerator is an intensive program that connects technology based small businesses, particularly those in the agriculture, health, education and manufacturing and transportation technology with renowned and global mentors, seed funding and development expertise to help them transform their business idea into a real venture within 90 days. The business accelerator also provides startup resources and corporate innovation programs which are available at their site.

2) WDM Business Incubator

The West Des Moines Business Incubator is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization where small businesses could grow and prosper. The incubator specifically caters to tech-based startups and other companies under food services and wet and/or dry labs.

3) Waverly Area Small Business Incubator and Consultation Center

The WASBICC is a business incubator and consultation center that provides entrepreneurs with coordinated support as they start and grow their business. They aid existing businesses so they can expand, preventing startup leakage and making sure that local talent and values are maintained within the community.

4) Vault

Vault is a community of professionals mainly composed of founders, innovators, entrepreneurs, starters and creatives who think big and work together to improve the state of Iowa. The community inspires professionals and helps you get connected with the right people, opportunities, resources for your projects, and an alternative office space where you can work productively and in peace.

5) IC CoLab

IC CoLab is a Coworking and Meetup Space located in the Iowa City area. It offers high-speed internet and office equipment services such as copying and printing, conference rooms, together with numerous helpful programs and learning sessions. It also provides meetup and event spaces and shared office spaces.

6) SpringBoard Coworking

Springboard Coworking is a shared office space specifically designed for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and other professionals who collaborate together to create innovative ideas. Springboard offers affordable and functional options for those who are looking for alternative working spaces.

7) inTandem Workspace

inTANDEM workspace is a coworking community of like-minded professionals who want to work in a collaborative working environment where they can meet and connect with other creative individuals. The coworking space provides modern amenities and large offices at an affordable price.

8) Open Decorah

Open Decorah is a coworking environment where entrepreneurs and professionals work, gather, share and learn together. It also offers small business consulting in areas such as new business guidance, loan proposal assistance, market research services, cash flow projections, human resource management, strategic planning, business continuity planning, accounting and QuickBooks and many others.

9) CoWRK

CoWRK is a coworking community located in the Creative Corridor. The main goal of the coworking space is to find and gather together creative and talented internet professionals who encourage and assist each other as they work hand-in-hand to improve the state of Iowa.

10) ffCoLab

Fairfields is a coworking space that stands by 3 principles: connectivity, creativity and productivity. With its affordable prices, you’ll be able to gain access to a kitchenette, conference room, phone room, flexible workspaces, high speed internet, business support services and many other amenities and office equipment.

11) Seed Here Studio

Seed Here Studio is a creative agency that aims to build the community by supporting entrepreneurs and business professionals so that they’ll have the best chance to thrive in Iowa. Some of the services offered are event production, space management, consulting, program development, media and marketing and speaking and training.

12) The Creative Collective

The Creative Collective is a coworking space that promotes professional development, community and networking and provides you with excellent downtown amenities. It inspires professionals to work creatively, collaboratively and productively. The aim of the coworking space is to support individuals who are trying to build their business, encourage them to work hard and be the best in their craft and reach their full potential.


Small Business Professional Services in Iowa

1) Davis Brown Law Firm

The Davis Brown Law Firm provides legal advice and guidance to small business owners who are in the early stages of development. They provide assistance when forming a business, choosing an appropriate business name, determining how it is set-up and creating operating strategies and management to be used on a daily basis. They also explain certain legal implications to business owners so that they will be able to understand and protect both their business investment and their customers.

2) Sullivan & Ward

Sullivan & Ward, P.C. is a West Des Moines law firm that offers legal assistance to businesses, rural electric and telephone cooperative associations and individuals. They have a team of competent and skilled attorneys who handle corporate and business matters such as litigation, employment law, taxation, and mergers/acquisition for their clients. They will help you form your business and guide you as you run your business.

3) Klatt & Associates

Klatt & Associates is a small business accounting firm that helps you keep track of your expenses and records in an organized way. They have a list of tasks that they can do for you, this includes: reconciling your bank accounts, generate an income statement, generate a balance sheet, organize your ledger and provide unlimited consultations.

4) The Powell Law Firm

The Powell Law Firm is a Des Moines business formation firm that helps you set-up your business efficiently for the long-term. A team of trained lawyers will assist you with the entire process, from choosing your business name, selecting a legal structure and explaining your legal responsibilities as a business owner, The Powell Law Firm will give you all the legal advice that you need.

5) IT Professionals of Iowa

The IT Professionals of Iowa provide technology solutions to businesses and entrepreneurs who want to manage, protect and organize their data in an organized way. They provide services such as server and workstation monitoring, antivirus, web content filtering, windows and third party updates and unlimited remote support.

6) David J. Franks

David J. Franks is an attorney that will assist you with business formation. He is a seasoned and well-established attorney that will provide you with legal advice, counseling and guidance all throughout the process of formation.

7) Small Business Solutions

Small Business Solutions is a bookkeeping and business consulting firm that offers a wide range of services to individuals and businesses. This includes tax management services, bookkeeping/write-up, Quickbooks accounting help and assistance, cash flow and budgeting analysis, assurance and advisory services, IRS representation, payroll services and many others.

8) Meriwether, Wilson and Company

Meriwether, Wilson and Company is a small business accounting company that offers numerous services to entrepreneurs and business owners in Iowa. Some of the services they offer are bank reconciliation, income statement and balance sheet organization, cleaning general ledgers and business tax filing preparations.

9) Allen L. Kockler Co.

Allen L. Kockler is a Certified Public Accountant and one of the leading accountants in Central Iowa. He is an experienced and trusted accountant who has an equally competent staff to help you with tax preparation, accounting, and financial consulting needs. The firm has over 36 years of experience in the business industry and has assisted hundreds of business owners manage and run their business efficiently.

10) Campbell, Higgins & Mummert, P.C.

Campbell, Higgins & Mummert is a CPA firm that will help your small business thrive in Iowa. The firm has been in the industry for more than 50 years and have assisted businesses to success. Some of the services they offer include tax, payroll, accounting, estate and retirement planning and financial statement preparation.

11) Henkel & Associates

Henkel & Associates is an accounting firm that provides assistance to individuals and small business owners through the following services: income tax preparation, business and personal financial advice, computerized bookkeeping and accounting services, business startup services, payroll and sales tax preparation, financial audits, financial report preparation and business succession.

12) Kuhl, Phillips & Jans Inc.

Kuhl, Phillips & Jans Inc. is a small business accounting company that aims to provide the best accounting and bookkeeping services to startups and entrepreneurs. The firm specializes in tax planning and preparation as well as payroll management, Quickbooks training and taxation.

13) Ernst, Swedean and Associates P.C

Ernst, Swedean and Associates P.C is a professional accounting firm that provides assistance to individuals and small businesses, organizing their paperwork, keeping track of business expenses and organizing their books. They also offer tax preparation services, corporate accounting services and personal accounting services.

14) Buchheit Law, PLC

The Buchheit Law Firm aims to assist small business owners with a wide range of legal issues. They will also help you form your business, choose a legal entity, document preparation, business name selection and business compliance and requirements.

15) Howes Law Firm

Howes Law Firm provides legal representation and handles numerous business law and corporate law matters. They provide free initial consultation and solve the legal needs of businesses and companies. The firm also helps you start your business, manage, develop and grow it and change, transfer or end your business. Howes Law Firm provides quality and cost-effective services.

16) Hudson, Mallaney, Shindler & Anderson, P.C.

The Hudson, Mallaney, Shindler & Anderson is a professional, credible and reliable business and corporate law firm. The firm is composed of top-notch attorneys who offer their legal experience and expertise in coming up with the most efficient solution to your legal problems.


Your Iowa Startup Toolkit

1) Business Planning

Business plans are essential when starting a small business. Truth is, the small business industry is one of the most competitive and unstable place to be in; more than half of small businesses that are built every year fail to make it and they eventually have to be closed. The best thing that you can do to have an edge over other startups is to write a solid and professional business plan that you can use in every step of building your business.

If you need help with business plan writing, there are numerous business plan software options that you can choose from. However, one of the best is LivePlan. LivePlan has all the tools you need so you can create the best possible plan for your business.

2) Online Incorporation Service

Incorporation is one legal process that you need to go through so you can protect both you and your business from liabilities. However, incorporation is one of the most dreaded procedures for most entrepreneurs and sometimes, they’d rather operate unincorporated than to go through the entire process. If you plan on starting a business, incorporation should always be your priority.

Good thing incorporation can now be done online with the use of incorporation services. Three of the best in the online incorporation industry are Incfile, MyCorporation and CorpNet. Try their services and see which one best fits you.

3) Building a Business Website

Business websites are excellent tools that will help you sell your products/services, market them, develop your branding and make your business more accessible and reachable by consumers. Most people would think that building a business website is still difficult, but it’s completely the opposite.

With website building tools such as Bluehost and Rainmaker, owning a business website is easy and cost-effective. All you have to do is subscribe to their services and they’ll handle everything for you. It’s as simple as that.

4) Accounting Software

Financial management is highly important to the success of a small business. Cash flow is the heart of any enterprise and failure to keep track of finances and records well is a mistake that can cost you your business. If you want to stay as hands on as possible but you lack the knowledge and training to do so, what you need may be an accounting software.

Accounting software solutions do not only make your accounting and bookkeeping tasks easier, they will help you stay organized all throughout your business. Xero, QuickBooks and FreshBooks are three excellent software options that you can check out.


Wrapping Up On Starting A Business in Iowa

Wrapping Up and Starting a BusinessAs of December 2015, the state of Iowa has considerably expanded its economy even more and developed a strong support system for small businesses in the state. According to the CNBC’s report for 2015, Iowa is ranked in the number 10 spot for the best states to start a small business and number 14 on Forbes list.

As Iowa’s small business industry increasingly becomes supportive of the small business industry, it might be the best time to build a startup there and take advantage of all the business resources and tools that they have to offer. With government and private agencies to back you up, it will definitely boost your chances of success.

About Ryan James

Half hardworking hermit, half avid adventurer, Ryan founded Startup Savant to simplify entrepreneurship and pay it forward by donating a portion of all revenue to support children's education via