Students from the ISU College of Design presented their final posters to over 30 community members on Monday, April 25. Residents were very impressed with the design interventions proposed. A full report with all of the projects will be sent to Jefferson Matters: Main Street to share with the City of Jefferson and Chamber of Commerce in hopes of incorporating these ideas into plans for the future.
Jefferson Matters: Main Street was contacted to hold a free workshop presented by Pam Johnson, a Google facilitator from Fort Dodge. All area businesses are invited to this session on Monday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Greene County High School computer lab. Jefferson Matters: Main Street has teamed up with several teachers at Greene County High School to provide for a stress-free way to use this technology. Mavis Sawhill teaches an Entrepreneurial Class and Teresa Green works with students in the Interact Club. These students will be available to assist businesses one on one to claim their business and enter important information to get them on the map. The computers in the lab will be available for use but businesses may bring their own mobile devices.
A lot of small businesses are missing out on sales. Google concludes that just 37 percent of small businesses have a local listing on any search engine. Those numbers mean that four in five people who search the Web to find a business’s operating hours, phone number, or other vital data, aren’t getting that information on a majority of local small businesses.
So, Google has introduced a program it’s calling “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” that aims to get small businesses listed on search engines. This free workshop will be called, “Let’s Get Jefferson on the Map”.
To back the importance of getting local small businesses listed online, Google says its new data shows that people are 38 percent more likely to visit a small business that’s listed online. And further, 29 percent of people asked said they are more likely to consider buying something from those businesses listed online.
Google has created a custom website for each city it is targeting and Jefferson’s website will be utilized at the workshop. Pam will take participating businesses through step by step to find how they need to get listed online. That includes a diagnostic tool that shows businesses how they currently appear online.
The goal is to have at least 30 businesses involved at the May 9th workshop. An RSVP for this free workshop is requested to Peg Raney at email@example.com or call 515-386-3585 by Friday May 6.
Open 4 Business Contest Now Open
Do you have a great business idea? Have you always wanted to own a business in downtown Jefferson? Is your current business planning to expand services or add a new product line?
Jefferson Matters: Main Street is looking for interested entrepreneurs who could use $28,000 to launch or grow their business idea within the Jefferson’s Main Street district. The Open 4 Business contest, launched in 2015, is an opportunity for businesses located within a state-designated Main Street district, to compete for a chance to win up to $28,000 in grant funds to assist with a business development or expansion project that will benefit the local community. Businesses must complete an application and present a “business pitch” to a panel of judges outlining their business idea and how it will benefit the local economic climate in their community. A 25% cash match is required. The grant funds are administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa program.
The Business Improvement Committee would like to know of local interest by May 11. If more than one business plans to compete, local business pitches will be presented in late May. Each designated Main Street community may submit one local business applicant that will represent Jefferson at the sub-state competitions held in five locations across the state on June 13-16, 2016. Sub-state winners will receive $8,000 and advance to the state contest which will be held in Mason City, Iowa the evening of August 2, 2016. The state winner will win an additional $20,000.
The Main Street Iowa contact is Robin Bostrom, Business Specialist, Iowa Downtown Resource Center/Main Street Iowa at 515.725.3053 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twenty-four ISU students in the Retail Scapes Studio shared their ideas for Jefferson on March 28. Throughout the semester, the students have researched Jefferson and visited one on one with community members. They created an Identity or Vision for the community from these conversations and presented them as power points in February. At this March visit, students presented posters of their proposed projects for Jefferson and invited input from community members. Over 30 people from Jefferson attended and spent a couple of hours visiting with the students. The entire event was deemed a big success with outstanding ideas presented. At the final presentation on April 25, the students will have tweaked their projects and will share their final posters. The committee will receive copies of each of the projects and decide how they can be implemented.