OTTUMWA — If you listen carefully, you'll hear that economic development experts believe in small business. The potential for a huge factory coming to town may be the exciting news, but it's the entrepreneurs who create more than half of all new jobs.
At the Indian Hills Community College "Vision Awards," a committee of business people chose their favorite dreamers who were willing to take a risk.
If they're smart, however, they can reduce their risk by talking to an expert, said members of Executive Dean Tom Rubel's Regional Economic Advancement team. This year, the committee chose one such expert who has offered winning advice to thousands of business, and thus, has helped to create thousands of jobs in the IHCC 10-county area.
The winner of this "Lifetime Achievement Award," said college president Marlene Sprouse on Thursday, has arguably "had more impact on the small business community in our 10-county region than any other single individual."
Bryan Ziegler teaches business classes and gives advice on business planning, financing and marketing strategies.
Sprouse said his advice is so respected "that one local revolving loan fund committee even requires applicants speak with him before they will even consider funding their request."
The newest Vision category, said Rubel, is the Social Venture of the Year. Besides being something that benefits others, the name "social" fit because the organization was founded by multiple people from different agencies working together.
"There is already positive buzz about what is taking place at our winner’s location: Market on Main," Rubel said.
For the first time, an Indian Hills student received the Student Entrepreneur of the Year award: Justin Clements. In 2008, while still a Fairfield High School student, he started a landscaping business, which he worked part time, and continued to study. After going to work for someone else full time, he decided he would become his own boss through JC Lawncare, Landscape and Snow Removal.