Small Business Competition for Free Rent, Utility Stipend in Lisbon

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

LISBON, Iowa - If you're a small business owner looking for a new, free space to grow your business, Lisbon might be the place for you. Monday, the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group kicked off a contest to reward local entrepreneurs. If you win, you get a one-thousand square foot building with no lease for up to two years.

This is a big push for the local economy there. It's part of a larger plan to promote the Lisbon-Mount Vernon area and attract people to the community with the appeal of going to a new business. The building at 134 East Main Street in Lisbon is the place you could win and it sits in right at the center of small town retail.

“How wonderful to be able to live and walk to and from the place you work,” said Main Street & Marketing Director Joe Jennison.

It's the appeal of small town living and working wrapped up in a contest. The best business plan wins this space rent free for up to 24 months.

“The only limitation is your own imagination so anybody who has an idea is welcome to take part in this,” said Jennison.

Graphic designer Danielle Ameling is one of those interested entrepreneurs.

“I’ve done a lot of letter press work from beginning stages of the design to the end for the final product,” said Iron Leaf Press Owner Danielle Ameling.

Custom designs for personalized stationary, wedding invitations, and other announcements. Not just on her website, at her apartment-slash-studio. It’s too cramped now for her growing business.

But moving from this to this a one-thousand square foot building is an opportunity Ameling doesn't want to pass up.

“Rent free for two years to and it would be a great place for me to meet with clients and have more exposure from a retail aspect,” said Ameling.

Free rent and a utility stipend of 300 bucks a month; a packaged deal called "Project Bright Idea" with hopes to generate plenty of buzz and healthy competition.

“The project could be anything and we encourage and welcome anyone to come out and see if it might be a fit for their new or emerging business,” said Jennsioin.

In order to win, you have to submit your plan by March 15th. And the winner can move-in here and start business in May. For more information click here.

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