The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

February 4, 2014

Rewarding vision

OTTUMWA — People who will take a risk, take advice and take action have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. And local economic development educators say they should be recognized.

Indian Hills Community College’s Regional Economic Advancement team is accepting nominations for their Third Annual Vision Awards. But what's the difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur?

"In some cases, there isn't a difference," said Ashley Moyer, the economic advancement associate coordinating the awards. "They're someone who starts a business, but you can also be very entrepreneurial in your thinking, very innovative. For the purpose of the awards, the entrepreneur would be a business owner who lives in our 10-county area."

An idea of what they're looking for in their 10-county coverage area could be inferred from last year's winners: Mitch Goudy of Fairfield, Student Entrepreneur of the Year; Holly Berndt at Wayne (Corydon) schools was the Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year; Josh Bear, owner of Kar Knuts in Derby was named Indian Hills Alumni Entrepreneur Award; Little Bake Shop in downtown Ottumwa won for New Business of the Year; and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., Fairfield, received the Business of the Year award.

"In my opinion, entrepreneurs are the people who grow our economy," Moyer said.

In fact, her boss, Executive Dean Tom Rubel, often tells the public that far more local jobs come from businesses in Iowa than from giant, multi-national corporations building a new factory in town. That doesn't mean communities stop courting out-of-state businesses, they just can't afford to neglect the homegrown businesses.

"Entrepreneurs know it's OK to take a risk," Moyer said, "but the successful ones do their research, reach out to people who have expertise. You can take a smarter risk."

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