The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced the finalists for the EDA Excellence in Economic Development Awards. Nominations that received the three highest evaluations in their category qualified as finalists. North Iowa Area Community College’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (NIACC JPEC) was selected as a finalist in the category of Excellence in Rural Economic Development.
In this category, nominations are evaluated by a distinguished panel of national economic development experts to determine how effectively applicants use innovative, market-based strategies to improve rural economic development results. The other two finalists in that category are the Jackson County (Florida) Development Council and the New Mexico Regional Development Corporation.
“To be named as a finalist is a fabulous endorsement of the program,” Jamie T. Zanios, NIACC JPEC director, said. “But more importantly, it is recognition that North Iowa is on the cutting edge nationally in putting business ownership within reach of its citizens. We could not have done this well without the active support of NIACC’s leadership, our local economic development professionals, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, our elected officials, the advisory committees and, of course, the vision and leadership of John Pappajohn who founded the five JPECs and has continued his support of our efforts.”
The NIACC JPEC offers a comprehensive suite of services that enable new business start-ups and supports growth in existing businesses. The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is located on the North Iowa Area Community College campus in Mason City, IA, and provides college level courses and degree programs in entrepreneurship, a unique Entrepreneur for a Day (E4D) program to inspire and educate 5th graders in the region, as well as consulting services for business start-ups and existing industries in the North Iowa region. The center also presents FastTrac® NewVenture™ for beginning companies and GrowthVenture™ for existing companies and has funding available through NanoLoans, revolving loan funds and Wellmark and North Iowa Venture Fund II as well as direction to many other local, state and national funding agencies.