Small Business Resources

The City of Dubuque Economic Development Department can help connect you to any of the partners listed. The Economic Development Department can also assist in Iowa Micro Load application and partner on funding, if approved.

Economic Development Department Contacts:

New Businesses

Thinking of starting a new business?  Fill out this form to provide the City with some basic information.

Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS)

  • Created in 1963 to improve the quality of life in Iowa by helping businesses and their communities prosper and grow. The tailored strategy: engage, educate, embed, means we work with companies to fashion solutions specific to their individual needs. Over the past five years, CIRAS and our partners have helped more than 4,100 businesses in every Iowa county, creating an economic impact of more than $2.8 billion.
  • Julie Fagle, PTAC Government Contract Specialist: jafagle@iastate.edu, 319-310-8612

Clarke University

  • COVID-19 Hotline: sbhelpline@nicc.edu, 563-588-3350
  • Bridging to resources, business planning, financial planning and training, information on starting up a business and what resources are needed, marketing, sales analysis and meeting with a SBDC counselor at no costs and referral to funding, access to local, state, and federal resources.

Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce

  • A membership organization that advocates to further the interests of the local business community. We help our members succeed and prosper providing opportunities to create commerce, leadership/professional development programs, education programs, networking and business connection opportunities, marketing and promotional resources and advocacy efforts to build a robust business climate.
  • Molly Grover, President & CEO: mgrover@dubuquechamber.com, 563-557-9200

 Dubuque Main Street

  • Database of available commercial space in downtown; architectural design assistance at no cost; storefront layout advice; signage consulting; virtual small business coaching; advocacy & research; micro-recruiting.
  • Dan LoBianco, Executive Director: office@dubuquemainstreet.org, 563-588-4400

East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA)

  • ECIA Business Growth, Inc. operates business loan programs including the SBA 504 program and several revolving loan funds (RLF). The RLFs include below market interest rates, filling financial gaps, and leveraging private sector funds. The minimum loan size is $25,000 and the maximum is $500,000.
  • Matt Specht, Co-Director of Community and Economic Development: mspecht@ecia.org, 563-690-5721

Empower

  • Free, intense 12-week education program designed to provide you with the basics you need to know to launch or grow your business.
  • EmpowerCedarRapids.com
  • Maurice Davis, Business Coach: medavis@janeboyd.org, 319-366-1408 x1310

Greater Dubuque Development Corp.

  • Partners with Northeast Iowa Community College and The Small Business Development Center to assist small business needs. In addition, Greater Dubuque Development conducts approximately 50 InfoAction interviews with small businesses on an annual basis and is available for information and referrals as needed.
  • Rick Dickinson, President & CEO: rickd@greaterdubuque.org, 563-557-9049

The Innovation Lab

  • The Innovation Lab is a network of coworking spaces that foster innovation & entrepreneurship in Eastern Iowa. Every Innovation Lab offers coworking space, innovation services, meeting space, and team building activities. Everything we do helps businesses launch, grow, and remain competitive.
  • Eric Dregne, Innovation Lab Director: hello@innovationlab.us

Iowa Economic Development Authority

  • Variety of resources for starting and growing a business. Links to webinars, classes, blog posts, business license information, newsletter, links to over 360 resource providers based on area of assistance, specific need, business stage, industry, and location.
  • IASourceLink.com

Iowa Micro Loan

  • Loans of $5,000 – $50,000 for start-up, expansion, and refinancing of small business entrepreneurs, a technical assistance plan of work tailored to the needs of your business, and a technical assistance grant up to $250 per client, per year, to assist in the cost of accessing other technical assistance resources. 
  • IowaMicroLoan.org/how
  • Craig Downs, President & Senior Loan Administrator: cdowns@iowamicroloan.org, 515-212-0182

Iowa Venture School

  • An innovative training program focused on real-world experimentation, customer discovery, and Lean LaunchPad methodologies. This program helps high-potential startups turn their ideas into reality. Hub locations across the state. This program works for startups, small businesses, non-profits, and corporate innovation teams. 
  • IowaJPEC.org/community/venture-school
  • Kady Light, Community Coordinator: kady-light@uiowa.edu

Key City Creative Center

  • Workspace (woodshop, metal shop, arts and crafts room along with CNC technology to help entrepreneurs create their products), collaboration, the new Dupaco Biz Hub (clean quiet workspace with computers, software, etc.). Also offers entrepreneur workshops and have worked with people on their business plan, building ownership, etc.
  • Brian Graham, 563-663-0502
  • Eric Ethier, 563-564-7493

Loras College

  • Students connect with the community as part of their classes and can assist businesses; potential for research projects or client consulting projects through classes (includes Marketing and Data Analytics), potential for student interns.
  • Valerie Bell, Associate Professor, Criminal Justice: valerie.bell@loras.edu, (563) 588-7757
  • Jim Padilla, Dean of the School of Business: james.padilla@loras.edu, (563) 588-7405

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC)

Small Business Administration (SBA)

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
  • Jo Eckert, Branch Manager, Iowa District Office/Cedar Rapids Branch: jo.eckert@sba.gov, 319-362-6535

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

SCORE

  • SCORE East Central Iowa has about 80 mentors and SCORE IOWA has about 200 mentors available to assist Iowa entrepreneurs at all stages of their development. Nationally, SCORE has 10,000 mentors that could be connected if needed. SCORE works closely with the SBA and local resource partners. SCORE  has minority entrepreneur resources available at Score.org/resources-minority-entrepreneurs
  • Don Nelson, East Central Iowa SCORE Chapter Chair: don.nelson@scorevolunteer.org, 515-231-1817
  • Tom Trone, Quad Cities SCORE, Chapter Chair; SCORE Iowa District Director; and University of Iowa Venture School Instructor: thomas.trone@scorevolunteer.org, 309-752-8909

University of Dubuque

  • Staff can help consult in the areas of marketing, finance, and accounting.
  • Ricardo Cunningham, Department Head-Business & Accounting: RCunning@dbq.edu, 563-589-3728