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Made in Iowa: The Iowa Center Celebrates the Impact on Small Business

Made in Iowa Series

April 18, 2024

Strong small businesses support strong communities. They create jobs and opportunity, deliver innovation and drive economic growth. Here in Iowa, 99.2% of our businesses are small businesses, and small businesses support nearly 46% of all of our jobs. Small business is truly the backbone of Iowa’s economy!

The impact of small business goes well beyond our economy. Small business makes our communities vibrant, flavorful and fun, and we rely on small businesses in some of the most important moments of our lives.

Small business is …

… the restaurant where we celebrate birthdays, holidays and anniversaries

… the farmer who grows our food and delivers beautiful tomatoes to the local supermarket

… the mechanic who keeps our cars running smoothly and helps us out when we need to repair a flat tire

… our favorite clothing boutique that sells those beautiful handbags

… the bike shop, toy store or gift shop

… the coffee shop where we close business deals with a handshake

… the neighborhood childcare with our toddler’s favorite swing set

… the dentist and orthodontist who fixes our smiles

… the bakery that makes our wedding and birthday cakes

… the homecare agency that helps our loved ones maintain their independence at home

… the physical therapist who helps us recover after surgery

… the salon and barber shop that gives us the perfect haircut

… the tutor that helps our teenager understand algebra

Small businesses are the heart and soul of Iowa. They are the community connectors who make our cities and towns livable, flavorful and fun! They provide the backdrop for the most memorable moments in our lives and support us when we face challenging moments.

Made in Iowa

On Tuesday, April 23, The Iowa Center will launch “Made In Iowa”, an event series to celebrate small businesses and their impact on Iowa‘s culture and economy. These one-hour events, hosted five times a year by The Iowa Center Women’s Business Center, will feature lively and honest conversations about the rewards and challenges of small business ownership. In a panel conversation with The Iowa Center staff and coaches, our small business clients will share their inspiration, tell their stories and discuss obstacles that they have overcome and opportunities that they never expected. During the conversation, we will explore how the impact of shopping small and shopping local ripples through our communities and our economy.

Our first event will feature longtime The Iowa Center client Suman Hoque, Owner of Hoq Restaurant in Downtown Des Moines’ (DSM’s) Historic East Village neighborhood. Chef Suman was born in Bangladesh and grew his culinary skills all over the world. After moving to Iowa in 2010, Chef Suman visited the Downtown Farmers’ Market and realized that he could source 90% of what he needed for his restaurant locally. At our Made In Iowa event on April 23, Chef Suman will discuss:

  • his good idea to combine ingredients from Iowa with flavors from around the world and how he turned that dream into a plan when he launched Hoq Restaurant
  • challenges that he has faced and how The Iowa Center has supported him along his small business journey
  • his commitment to sourcing his menu locally and how this commitment benefits our economy … Did you know that Chef Suman uses tofu that is produced in Iowa with soybeans that are grown in Iowa?

The Iowa Center invites you to join us for the launch of the Made In Iowa series on Tuesday, April 23 at 9 a.m. at Hoq Restaurant. Register at theiowacenter.org/event/made-in-iowa-hoq.

Made in Iowa

The Iowa Center is an economic development organization that empowers Iowans to launch and grow small businesses with three lines of direct service: Business Coaching, Credit + Lending, and Tax Services. The Iowa Center’s services are available to our clients at low to no cost thanks to the generosity of our donors, and The Iowa Center Women’s Business Center is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration. To learn more about The Iowa Center and our programs to empower Iowans to launch and grow successful and sustainable small businesses, please visit our website at www.TheIowaCenter.org.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership celebrates the Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneur community and helps small businesses succeed with one-of-a-kind resources and opportunities for networking. Find out how other entrepreneurs have found success by reading their stories and attending local small business events in the region.

There are so many fun events specific to Downtown DSM. Attend annual events like the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market, World Food & Music Festival and Holiday Promenade or find live music happening each week through the “Live Music This Week in DSM” blog series.

Megan Milligan

Megan Milligan is the President and CEO of The Iowa Center. The Iowa Center is an economic development organization that empowers Iowans to launch and grow small businesses with three lines of direct service: Business Coaching, Credit + Lending and Tax Services.