Buchanan County Career Fair
BCEDC highlighted building or site
UNI Women in Business Forum
Iowa's Innovation Expo
Testing: National Career Readiness
Is it time to start your own business?
5 Ways to boost your marketing


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Your business newsletter from the
Buchanan County Economic Development Commission

Buchanan County Career Fair
Needing a new career?  Looking for qualified employees? 

(Independence, IA)  Are you in need of a job, seeking better employment opportunities or would like to find a job closer to home? If your company is looking to connect with new employees, we can respond to your needs. The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC) and Sedona Staffing Services will be hosting a career fair on Wednesday, October 14, 4:00-7:00. The fair will be held at Heartland Acres, 2600 Swan Lake Blvd., Independence, IA  50644
The career fair is free for job seekers to attend and many Buchanan County businesses will be on hand to take applications and to share information on available jobs and future career opportunities.  Prior registration for job seekers in not required. Dress appropriately, bring a resume or employment history information and visit the career fair on October 14. 

Companies attending as of September 30:  Tyson, Pries, Bossen Implement, Innovative Ag, Geater, Prinsco, Bertch and B & D Services.  Several other companies have indicated that they will attend. One stop shopping for your new future!

Are you a Buchanan County business that would like to exhibit at the career fair? Go to Business Registration for Career Fair or contact George Lake at BCEDC: 319-334-7497
Other partner organizations in attendance include Iowa Workforce Development, Hawkeye Community College, Independence Area Chamber of Commerce and Veterans Affairs.

Highlighted Available Building or Building Site
Signs & More Commercial Building

 If you are looking for highly visible retail or commercial space, check out the Signs and More Building located at the intersection of 1827 1st St. W. and Iowa Avenue in Independence. Signs and More operates a highly successful business in the west side of this former furniture showroom and the east half is tastefully divided into business and office suites. There is  a 1,200 sq ft suite available with a large front window viewing. You have quick access to 4-lane US Highway 20, there is available parking for 200+ vehicles and several restaurants are within easy walking distance for employees and customers alike.  Several individual office spaces are also available. Contact Josh Coonrod (319) 334-3666  to view the suite and offices.
To learn more about business expansion opportunities in Independence and Buchanan County, contact BCEDC Director George Lake, 319-334-7497

UNI’s Women in Business Forum

UNI’s Center for Business Growth and Innovation, in partnership with Congressman Rod Blum are sponsoring an October 14 forum to encourage business success by women. The Business Forum serves to raise awareness and encourage women in business, provide connections, and expand conversation within the business community.

Register for the Women in Business Forum
When: Wednesday, October 14th
Where: UNI Campus
Time: Interactive Panel Discussions (3-5pm)
Networking & Exhibitors (5-7pm)
How To Grow Your Business Workshop (5:45-6:45pm)

Attend Iowa’s Own Shark Tank for Ideas
Iowa’s Innovation Expo 2015

Are you a business innovator, a risk taker and want to meet more than 100 Iowa entrepreneurs to learn about the impact their innovative businesses are making in Iowa? Do you want to pitch your business idea to the experts?  Then you need to Attend Innovation EXPO 2015 on Wednesday, October 21st at the Coralville Marriott. The EXPO is a statewide event created to foster the growth of innovation and entrepreneurial enterprise in Iowa. This will be an unprecedented opportunity to present your business idea, meet many of Iowa’s leading innovators and see first-hand the cool products and services they are creating.
The day-long EXPO is comprised of three sub-events that you can attend individually or join in all events. Register for the Innovation Expo
Pitch your business with The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI):  Do you want the opportunity to pitch your business or showcase it to hundreds of investors, business leaders and community leaders? Sixteen entrepreneurs at any stage of the business life cycle will practice their pitches before a supportive “think tank” of industry experts and receive constructive feedback.  Register for a chance to Pitch your business with TAI.
Pitch your business with the Iowa Venture Capital Association’s Seed & Venture Forum: Six entrepreneurs will present their more-developed business ideas to a panel of seed and venture-stage company experts from across the state and country.  This is for the more advanced ideas & business that are ready to seek financing. No $$ will be awarded but you will gain highly constructive feedback from financiers. Register for a chance to appear before venture capitalists.
Showcase your business at the
EDC’s Entrepreneur Showcase:  The EXPO culminates in a trade show-like environment where over 70 of the area’s most innovative businesses, technologies, and inventors will be on display. The business community, students and public are invited to walk through the Showcase and network.  Register for the Showcase by contacting Christie Remley at or 319-369-4955.
The October 21, Innovation EXPO is designed for entrepreneurs, inventors, financial resources and business leaders in Iowa to connect, help our region grow more new business, create jobs, keep our region vibrant and globally competitive and to celebrate entrepreneurs.  Contact BCEDC Director George Lake if you want to visit about attending  319-334-7497

Free Testing for National Career
Readiness Certificate


(Buchanan County, IA) If you want to advance your career opportunities by making yourself more employable, you are encouraged to earn your Skilled Iowa, National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC).  Iowa Workforce Development will be offering free testing for the NCRC on Tuesday, October 13th, 9 am - 1 pm at the Independence Hawkeye Community College Center.  
The Skilled Iowa Initiative is a public/private partnership dedicated to connecting Iowa employers with highly skilled employees.  Connections are made when individuals take the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) assessment to measure crucial workplace skills in areas such as applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information. Employers ask for and then more readily hire those with NCRC certificates. To date, more than 35,000 Iowan have earned an NCRC.
What are the benefits of the NCRC initiative for those seeking to advance their career? The Certificate will highlight your strengths in math, reading comprehension and problem solving.  Over 80 Buchanan County businesses have joined the Skilled Iowa initiative and will ask for your NCR Certificate when you apply for a job. Having the Certificate will help you land that job!
What are the benefits of the NCRC initiative for businesses? Ask job applicants to present a NCR Certificate and you immediately have an understanding of the skill levels of your potential employee.  The Skilled Iowa NCR Certificate will help you optimally connect your new hire with the position to be filled. Contact BCEDC Director George Lake to learn about becoming a Skilled Iowa Business.
The free NCRC assessment will be offered at Hawkeye Community College, 2349 Jamestown Ave, Independence Tuesday, October 13. Testing begins at 9 a.m. so be sure to arrive 15 minutes early.
Register by calling 319-235-2123 Ext. 240.   Visit to learn more about the Skilled Iowa initiative and the benefits it provides for students, workers, employers and communities. 
You may also contact George Lake, Director, Buchanan County Economic Development, 319-334-7497,

Isn't it time you took the first step to starting/building your business?
  Twenty-one  Buchanan County businesses, new and start-ups, have met with the Small Business Development Center in the BCEDC offices in the past 10 months. 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, October 19. Contact BCEDC Director George Lake at 319-334-7497 to set an appointment to meet with the SBDC.
It's time to take the first step....
5 Simple Ways to Give Your Marketing a Boost
By Ricardo Trillos Chocolatier/CEO, Cao Chocolates
Originally printed:.  April 30, 2015 Read the article online.
Coming from a background in both accounting and human resources, I've been able to witness a lot of business lessons firsthand. When I launched Cao Chocolates, I felt fortunate to take some of those lessons and apply them directly to my daily business life, channeling what I had learned in the corporate world into my small business life. One of the areas I've always had an interest in is marketing, and I work hard to find new and inventive ways to bring products and ideas to potential clients. Here are five rules I live by on my marketing journey:
1. Love your product and try to be the best in your industry:  I was passionate about chocolate long before I made it my business, and I think that passion comes through in my work. I also channel my passion by investing money in my chocolate education. Even today, I often travel to meet and learn from the best chefs and chocolatiers in the world to be sure I am providing clients with the very best product.
2. Create strong partnerships:  I truly believe that if you go by yourself, you won't go very far. A strong group of people will get you there. I'm proud to partner with and support other local businesses and share in successes that we can all benefit from. I recently sent out corporate gifts for an attorney client of ours. We hand-delivered chocolates to about 25 of his best clients and just a few days later he was on the phone, thrilled with how many referrals he had already gotten. At the same time we had other attorneys who had seen the gifts calling us, wanting to do the same. It was a great marketing opportunity for both of us.
3. Be kind:  It sounds simple, but it really is so important. We live in a big world, but it can be small when it comes to our business and industries. Be nice to everyone, make them feel great and make an effort to have exceptional customer service—you never know who you're dealing with.
4. Find new ways to get your name out there:  You have to be creative. You can't wait for the customer to walk through your door. When I didn't have a storefront, I created pop-up opportunities via local farmer's markets. When I didn't have a commercial kitchen, I partnered with a local baker to rent space in her shop. We do wine and chocolate pairing events, special tastings and sell our product in more than 10 markets and coffee shops across South Florida. We connect with growers and clients via social media. We're constantly thinking of new ways to introduce Cao to the world.
5. Give back: It doesn't matter how much you make, you always have to give back. If you make $100, you can give $10. If you make $1 million, you can give $1,000. Use part of what you make to help someone else. It will always come back to you.
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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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