The two winners of last year’s inaugural Shelby County New Enterprises competition in Iowa say they have almost doubled the amount of business they do since they split $30,000 in winnings in November.
And now it’s time for round 2. Shelby County DevelopSource, the local economic development group, is accepting applications and business plans for this year’s competition from companies in Shelby County or from businesses willing to relocate there.
The dollars can make a difference. Consider:
» At Iowa Agricultural Bio Fibers, which buys crop leftovers from area farmers and makes them into livestock feed, plant space has grown from 13,000 square feet to 21,000 square feet.
At the time of the competition, the young company, which was established in 2009 in Harlan, needed more room to store feed and accommodate a second production mill, said Jake Schechinger, plant manager.
The $20,000 cut of the prize covered about 20 percent of the expansion, Schechinger said. Iowa Agricultural Bio Fibers is on pace to double last year’s output and produce 20,000 tons of feed.
» Work at Panama Diesel, a heavy machinery repair business in Panama, Iowa, is moving about 10 times faster now that the company has diagnostic software to troubleshoot repair needs.
Quicker labor has meant more customers and parts sales, said Theresa Kaufman, who owns the company with her husband, Josh. “The software takes the guesswork out,” she said.
The customer base at Panama Diesel, Kaufman said, is about twice as large as it was last year.
The New Enterprises contest drew nine qualified applicants last year.
In creating the competition, DevelopSource wanted to “promote the businesses that are growing in Shelby County and to promote Shelby County as a good place for businesses to start off,” said MJ Broomfield, DevelopSource’s co-director.
The deadline to apply is July 20. The application form and additional information are available at www.developsource.com.
For this year’s contest, five local judges will select finalists, who will then present their business plans Aug. 16.
Examples of costs eligible for the prize include feasibility studies, market research, equipment, marketing and property purchases or improvements.
The competition is a partnership with the City of Harlan, Harlan Industrial Foundation, Harlan Municipal Utilities, Shelby County Board of Supervisors, Bank of the West, Defiance State Bank, Farmer’s Trust and Savings Bank, Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone Co., Midstates Bank, Myrtue Medical Center, Nishnabotna Valley REC, Shelby County State Bank, Town & Country Credit Union and United Bank of Iowa.