Site/Building of the Month

Housing Study Grant Awarded

Pitch Your Business Idea @ 1 Million Cups

Business Jelly Update


Iowa & Buchanan County: Safest Communities

SBDC Coming to Buchanan County
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Your business newsletter from the
Buchanan County Economic Development Commission

Prime Housing Development Property
This L-shaped 4-acre lot is located on the site of the former Independence High School in a very nice residential area of Independence.  The site will be rough graded and sold "As is." The property is currently tax exempt so there will be no tax probation at closing.This is an ideal site for residential housing. The new swimming pool, Public Library, banks, restaurants and Independence Main Street businesses are within a few blocks walking distance.  Contact Lynnette Engel with the Independence Community Schools at 319-332-0458 or
For additional information, contact George Lake, Buchanan County Economic Development Commission. 319-334-7497
Back:  Don Shonka-County Supervisor, Norm Brus-USDA Rural Development, Jacob Tjaden and Brian Schoon-INRCOG.  Front: Cindy Gosse-County Auditor, George Lake-BCEDC

BCEDC Awarded Grant for Housing Study
(Independence, IA)  The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC) has been awarded an USDA Rural Business Development grant that will help pay for a county-wide housing needs assessment.  Attracting and keeping a qualified workforce is one of the biggest challenges companies in Buchanan County and rural Iowa are facing as they grow their business.  The availability of affordable and livable housing is an important aspect of maintaining and growing a stable pool of labor. It makes it difficult to hire employees if there is little in the way of available housing. The grant-funded housing study will help address workforce housing issues by identifying each community’s specific housing needs.
BCEDC Director George Lake discussed the ramifications of the grant award. “There is a direct and positive impact of securing the grant to pay for the housing study. While there is strong anecdotal evidence that there is a housing shortage in Buchanan County, there must be verified proof of the need for housing to secure some state and federal loans and grants.  Housing programs with The Iowa Finance Authority and the Iowa Economic Development Authority both require such a study. Every community in Buchanan County will be eligible to apply for the expanded housing programs once the study has been completed and if a housing shortage is verified.”
Mr. Lake explained that a major reason for the successful grant award is because of strong support from throughout the county. The County Board of Supervisor’s sponsored the grant and all eleven city councils passed resolutions of support. Additionally, over a dozen businesses from throughout the county wrote letters of support. Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy provided financial assistance in the way of matching funds. The BCEDC has contracted the Iowa Northland Region Council of Government (INRCOG) to conduct the yearlong study.  A task force comprised of representatives from each town in Buchanan County will oversee the county-wide housing needs assessment.
Please contact BCEDC Director George Lake if you have questions.         319-334-7497


Pitch Your Business Idea to Business Professionals and Get Immediate Feedback
How many business ideas have been developed over a cup of coffee? Can I invite you to coffee?
One Million Cups Cedar Valley is a local venue where you can pitch your business idea and secure immediate feedback.  On the first Wednesday of every month, entrepreneurs and professionals from around the Cedar Valley Region, come together to present and discuss business ideas.  If you are thinking of starting a business, a newly established business or if you are an established company that is branching out into a new venture, you can present your plans to an audience for feedback. You will have 6 minutes for your pitch followed by 20 minutes of questions and answers and then feedback will be provided.
One Million Cups (1MC) is a free, national program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs.  Developed by the Kaufman Foundation, 1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee.
One Million Cups Cedar Valley meets at 9 a.m., the first Monday of each month at 225 Commercial St. in Waterloo. To participate in 1MC you must first go to   to learn about the program and then complete an application.  Please note that Cedar Valley1MC is for all business ideas, not just Tech Companies.
Questions? You can directly contact One Million Cups Cedar Valley coordinator Danny Laudick 319-232-1156 or
Business Jelly held in Fairbank  
Next Jelly in Independence
Nicely done Stephanie! The latest business Jelly was held Thursday August 18 at the Fairbank Public Library. A lot of useful networking and idea sharing took place between participants. Much of the focus of the discussions was on managing and utilizing business contacts and emails for purposes of communication and marketing. One of the major objectives of Jellies is to bring people together in an informal networking environment to facilitate discussions as related to business and managing personal time.  Mission accomplished in Fairbank!
Every business jelly ends on a positive note by having a local entrepreneur share their experience of starting and growing their business.  Ms. Stephanie Kennon, owner of Fairbank based re:Fuel was the presenter. Ms. Kennon explained how her path of work led her to establishing and owning Re:Fuel.  Re:Fuel is a massage and skin therapy business that also does makeup artistry for weddings and events.  Stephanie’s business has been very successful and she credits strong support from her family and the community.  I would be out of line if I didn’t recognize Ms. Kennon’s hard work and a creative approach to marketing her business.
The next business jelly will take place 9:00-Noon, September 21 at the Independence public library. Check out the full jelly schedule by going to  and then clicking on the bulletin board link.
Independence and Iowa are Among the Safest Communities in America
Are you looking for a safe and secure environment for your family and business? It’s time that you consider moving to Buchanan County Iowa. There are a multitude of reasons why there is value to living and working in Buchanan County and a low crime rate is at the top of the list!

Iowa is the 6th safest state in America:

Independence, Iowa is the 5th safest city in Iowa
SBDC Coming to Buchanan County:
Time to Start New or Grow Your Business

Many existing Buchanan County businesses and new start-ups, have met with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC)r in the BCEDC offices over the past tow years. Isn’t it time you took the first step to building your business?
Are you thinking about starting or expanding a business, but you’re not sure about how to proceed?  Professionals from the UNI Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be operating out The Buchanan County Economic Development (BCEDC) offices on the 3rd Monday of each month.
The SBDC will next visit the BCEDC offices, 112 1st St. Independence, on Monday, September 19. Contact BCEDC Director George Lake at 319-334-7497 to set an appointment to meet with the SBDC.

It's time to take that first and second step....

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The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC)
P.O. Box 109
Independence, IA  50644

Street address: 112 1st St. East, Independence,  IA  50644

Contact: George Lake, Executive Director

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Buchanan County Economic Development Co. · P.O. Box 109 · 112 1st St. East · Independence, IA 50644 · USA

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