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Grow With Us

We are here to help.

UCDA has the resources and entrepreneurial spirit to take ideas from sketches on your napkin to a reality, with programs like just start - an introduction to entrepreneurship. Additionally, one of UCDA's most important activities is to support the growth of existing businesses in Union County.  The Grow UC committee, a subcommittee of UCDA, invites you to work with us to help support inspiring business owners to take that next step as well as explore ways to help our communities advance in the ever evolving technological advancements that are crucial for business development.

UCDA is here to consult with you on a confidential basis and serve as a liaison with appropriate local, regional and state agencies.  Through UCDA's business support services, we can provide the following services to businesses no matter what stage of business you are in.

First Steps & Resources


Have a business idea or side hustle, but need help with business basics? Get started with these first steps.

  • Business Model Canvas - is a chart, a template, a tool to collect the descriptions of the building block of your business, and to help you understand and analyze your business model.  Available only for those who participate in the Just Start Program.

  • Just Start - Introduction to Entrepreneurship  - This program is our locally developed introductory workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs. The workshop includes a starter kit with step by step directions on how to get started on your next business venture. Limited spaces available so sign up today!

First Steps & Resources



How you structure business is critical to the type of business you are starting and the goals you have for that business.

Types of business structures include (

  • Sole Proprietorship - The vast majority of small businesses start out as sole proprietorships. These firm are owned by one person, usually the individual who has the day-to-day responsibility of running the business.

  • Partnership - In this scenario, two or more people share ownership of a single business. Like sole proprietorships, the law does not distinguish between the business and its owners.

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) - An LLC is designed to provide the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.

  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) - An LLP provides limited liabilities to the partners where each partner is not responsible or liable for the other partner's actions or negligence.

  • Corporation - A corporation is considered by law to be a unique entity, separate and apart from those who own it. A corporation can be taxed, sued and enter into contractual agreements.

Click here to find out the advantages and disadvantages for each business structure to determine which works best for you.


Permits & Licensing


Depending on the type of business and location, a business will need to apply for the appropriate permits and/or licensing. Below are the permit/license information for the State of Iowa and the Creston/Union County area.

Register Your Business - If you operate a business in Iowa, you will more than likely have to collect and pay taxes.

Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN or EIN)

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR)

Iowa Business License Information Center (BLIC)

Union County, IA

City of Afton, IA

City of Creston, IA

Permits & Licensing



Understanding how much money it will take to start up and sustain a business will make a difference in short term and long term business success.  Calculate the startup costs here.

There are many funding opportunities for a business start-up or expansion from traditional lending, SBA loans and investors. All of these require owners equity (self-funding). Typically an owner will want to shoot for 20% o their own funds to leverage any debt or equity financing.




Marketing your business is key to attracting new customers and keeps them coming back. Building a marketing plan that targets your clients/customers is that road map to standing out in your industry. Even though you might need to make a few minor adjustments along the way it sets the course for your business.

First you need to start with your Brand Statement.  Answer these three questions.

  • What does your product/service do? - What does your customer get, and how does it make them feel?

  • Who is it for? - Which customer has them most to gain from your product or service?

  • What is special about it? - What sets you apart from the competition? What makes you stand out?

Small Business Administrative Marketing Plan Template

What should my plan include?  Key components that are a must have in your plan.




There are two keys to your business' financial sustainability: bringing money in, and keeping costs under control. It is imperative to the success of your business that you stay on top of your financial position and understand the accounting tasks at hand or consider outsourcing this segment of your business start-up or expansion.




Whether you are a remote worker, home-based business, online commerce site, mobile office, or a brick and mortar space, your location is critical to the needs of your business.

Consider these factors when exploring the landing spot for your business.

The Roundhouse Cowork Space - Non-retail small office spaces with all the amenities you need to get work done.

Location One Information System (LOIS) - A local online location analysis tool designed to show available sites, buildings for sale or spaces for lease.


One-on-One Business Counseling


UCDA financially supports and partners with the regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Through collaboration, we can provide one-on-one counseling to assist with starting a business, business planning, financial planning, human resource management, marketing, business succession planning and much more.

One on One Business Counseling
Additional Servics

Additional Services


Through our business service provider network we are your source for information regarding the following business needs:

  • Regulatory Assistance

  • Infrastructure

  • Export Assistance

  • Waste Management Consulting

  • Energy Efficiency

  • Financial Assistance

  • Business Succession

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