To learn more about the obstacles residents face when starting a business, the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the Business Heartland Project on Sunday at the Midnight Ballroom.
The goal of the event is to have the barrier guide available in April.
Barriers and challenges raised include communicating and promoting business, dealing with the recession, and the inability to recover economically after 2020. It also revealed a lack of information for entrepreneurs and potential business owners about where they can get financing. .
Participants said if everyone in Marshalltown could set up a business, residents wouldn't have to travel to Des Moines for goods and services.
“There is a lack of business in this town,” said interpreter Luisa Ortega.
A lack of readily available business information was also noted. Chamber President and CEO John Hall said the chamber is working to create a resource guide in Spanish to ensure no translations are lost or misrepresented. This guide helps people navigate business processes.
“Food permits and food testing are at the top of the list of things we've been talking about,” he said.
About 20 people attended the afternoon event in the Midnight Ballroom, which was as expected by the hall. The event is a product of the Kansas Leadership Center's Heartland Together Initiative, and Marshalltown is a pilot community in Iowa.
“The goal of this program is to [listen]identify and discover barriers to entrepreneurship, small business growth and development within more rural communities,” he said.
Hall, along with action committee members Jim Clark and Ortega, wanted to focus on Hispanic Marshalltown residents who own or want to own a business.
“We wanted to have a conversation about what tools, resources, direction, and services we lack or are struggling to find access to,” Hall said. “We hope to be able to create a more comprehensive resource guide, primarily built in Spanish, as a way to support this population.”
He told participants that people would meet in the second week of January to discuss business barriers and how to address them.
“Nothing is too small or too big,” Hall says. “We're just trying to understand where the barriers and limitations exist. The fundamental goal is to build communities that are more vibrant, more welcoming and more successful for small businesses throughout the community.” But it's also about bridging the gaps between the different communities that exist within Marshalltown to ensure everyone has the resources they need. so that we can be where they need us to be.”
Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611, ext. 210 or email@example.com.