BVU Joins Forces with Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation in Winning Google.org Grant
The project pairs retiring business owners with up-and-coming business operators throughout Iowa and provides mentoring and educational support to new entrepreneurs from succession match to new launch.
Buena Vista University has won a prestigious Google.org grant to advance programming aimed at facilitating business transitions across Iowa.
BVU’s Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business joins the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation to embark on a “Match, Learn, Launch” initiative. This project pairs retiring business owners with up-and-coming business operators throughout Iowa and provides mentoring and educational support to new entrepreneurs from succession match to new launch.
The two entities won a $175,000 competitive grant from Google.org through the company’s Grow With Google Program which seeks to aid the nonprofits as they work to create economic opportunities for entrepreneurs of all ages. Google.org’s Impact Challenge Iowa aims to help everyone across America access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, businesses, and nonprofits.
“We cannot wait to see how this endeavor will help transform our communities and people.”
A “match-making” app will link business owners who seek assistance in finding a successor for their enterprise with new entrepreneurs educated for sustained success. The need is critical as 71 Iowa counties have lost population in the last decade, and half of the state’s business owners are older than 50. This project aims to help solve the succession gap, keeping ideas, wealth, and people in Iowa.
“We are thrilled that Google.org, a world leader in technology, innovation, information, and more has recognized BVU’s initiative and the vital work we can do with the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation in matching young talent with the leaders who’ve demonstrated the skill and energy it takes to grow and maintain successful businesses,” says BVU President Joshua Merchant. “We cannot wait to see how this endeavor will help transform our communities and people.”
Kiley Miller, CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, says, “To say we’re excited is an understatement. Thanks to Google.org’s generosity, the academic heft of Buena Vista University, and the community development acumen of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, we will now be able to provide the networking and training necessary to transition existing businesses to new owners here in the Iowa Lakes region and across the state. That is essential to the prosperity and progress of rural communities.”