SBA Names City of West Des Moines as the 2022 SBA Iowa Small Business Community of the Year
(DES MOINES, Iowa) – The Iowa District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration will honor the City of West Des Moines as the recipient of its 2022 SBA Iowa Small Business Community of the Year Award. The award is presented in honor of SBA’s annual National Small Business Week celebration.
The award highlights a community’s efforts to support local small business. The City of West Des Moines was recognized by the SBA’s Iowa District Office based on the following criteria:
Key programs and incentives implemented to attract and retain small businesses.
- Leveraging of community resources with other federal, state, county, and local programs to benefit the small business community.
- Examples of how the community directly contributed to the success of local small businesses.
“West Des Moines sets the standard for every city and small town in Iowa,” said Jayne Armstrong, district director of the SBA’s Iowa District Office. “It leads by example, attracting and retaining small businesses, while creating an infrastructure, with the expansion of many banks, credit unions, and professional service firms, to support their start-up and growth needs.”
The SBA provided an estimated $16 billion in grants and loans to Iowa small businesses and non-profits through its COVID-19 economic recovery programs, including many in West Des Moines. The City leveraged the federal and state recovery funds by waiving development agreement compliance requirements, reducing the burden on local businesses while creating innovative ways to reach their customers when face-to-face interaction was not an option. Thanks to the City’s Valley Junction Property Improvement Loan Fund and Regulatory Compliance Grant Fund, Valley Junction developers and merchants have invested over $6 million since 2018 and the City has experienced a $5.5 million increase in taxable valuation.
In a 2021 West Des Moines survey of local small businesses, 71 percent say they are growing, nearly 70 percent introduced new products and services in the past year, and 92 percent still plan to grow and implement pre-COVID expansion plans.
Armstrong also credits the City’s leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives as another major reason for the award recognition. It recently hired its first director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to further the advancement of underserved and marginalized communities. The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee that actively engages the business community in diversity initiatives. The committee led a promotion campaign, “I Love Diverse WDM” and recruited dozens of diverse business owners as new chamber members. The chamber also sponsors the very successful statewide Black and Brown Business Summit that attracts national speakers, small business owners, lenders, corporations, and government agencies that are working together to expand business opportunities for diverse businesses.
“The city of West Des Moines, the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, and the Historic Valley Junction Foundation have worked collaboratively with the Small Business Administration, SBA resource partners, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority to provide the assistance, incentives, and environment small businesses need to be successful and to thrive in West Des Moines,” said West Des Moines Mayor Russ Trimble. “We are extremely proud and honored to be receiving this recognition. It absolutely means the world to us. Thank you, SBA for your continual support of our small businesses and for recognizing us for the work which we all have done as a team.”
The SBA will present the award to West Des Moines at the community celebration following the West Des Moines 2022 Economic Development Bus Tour on May 17th at 5:00 p.m. at the Regency West Building 7/8 at 4350 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit sba.gov.