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Updated: Five facts to know about Iowa’s revamped Targeted Small Business program

There have been some recent changes to make the Targeted Small Business program more accessible – here are five important facts to know.

April 30, 2018

Updated: Five facts to know about Iowa’s revamped Targeted Small Business program

Update: A new online application makes it easier than ever to apply to the Targeted Small Business program. In addition, it's now simple to find certified Targeted Small Businesses in the new online directory.

Iowa’s Targeted Small Business (TSB) program is designed to help women, individuals with minority status, service-connected disabled veterans and individuals with disabilities overcome some of the hurdles to start or grow a small business in Iowa. Qualified businesses may receive loans with favorable interest rates, and benefits for state of Iowa procurement opportunities.

There have been some recent changes to make the program more accessible. Here are five facts to know:

1. It’s easier than ever to apply for TSB certification

The new, streamlined TSB application greatly reduces the paperwork entrepreneurs need to apply for certification as a TSB. The application is free – both the initial certification and renewal certification fees have been discontinued. In addition, the turnaround time for applications is currently a week or less. Staff is available to quickly answer questions about the application at or 515.348.6159.

2. Businesses don’t need to be certified to access favorable start-up loans

Even if a business owner or entrepreneur is not quite ready to move forward with certification as a TSB, he or she can still access TSB loans. These loans, up to $50,000, are available from the Iowa Center for Economic Success and can be used to start or expand a business.

3. Family owned businesses are eligible for certification

If the majority owner of the business (51 percent or more) is a person with a disability, minority, woman or service-connected disabled veteran, the business is likely eligible for certification. The owner must also have the title of president and be involved in day-to-day business operations. All applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and TSB staff are happy to work to answer any questions applicants may have when completing the application, and placing the documentation together for certification.

4. Being a targeted Iowa small business offers valuable networking opportunities

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) organizes regular networking events for TSB throughout the state to help certified TSBs make valuable connections.

At a recent networking event, a TSB owner who provided landscaping services expressed concern about losing a currently held state contract because the criteria changed to include services he did not offer. Another TSB owner at the event who provides the newly required services offered to look at ways the two businesses could partner on the contract moving forward.

Networking events also offer an opportunity for businesses to talk directly with public sector purchasing professionals. Last year, the Iowa Public Procurement Association (IPPA) invited TSBs to a “speed-dating” type networking event at the IPPA Annual Conference. At the event, businesses owners spoke face-to-face with individuals in charge of purchasing for public sector entities throughout the state.

Beyond winning state contracts, these networking events offer an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and develop mutually beneficial relationships.

5. Iowa TSBs are connected to a greater support system

IEDA staff can help TSBs connect to a host of public sector and non-profit organizations with resources available to help small businesses owners in Iowa, including:


Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS)

Iowa Center for Economic Success

John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers

Small Business Development Centers

These programs are available for TSBs and IEDA staff can help small business owners figure out how to utilize them.

Individuals interested in learning more about the Iowa TSB program are encouraged to contact Jill Lippincott at or 515.348.6159.



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