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New woman-owned businesses look to expand

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A new competition is coming to Cedar Rapids to find the woman with the best business ideas.

“We want to encourage women to start their own businesses,” said IWLC’s Executive Director Diane Ramsey.

$40,000 is up for grabs for services like marketing, financing and technology. The contest is called “Invest in She.”

The Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference group and Ascent are behind it. Both are organizations that work to empower women to become leaders in the community and in business.

On the evening of Sept. 18, six women will have the opportunity to go before eight power investors at the Paramount Theatre. All are hoping to win key financial support.

You don’t have to look far to find some brand new businesses.

“Since like August 12. We are a startup. We just started,” said Nikki Hynek.

Nikki Hynek works out of her house just outside of Cedar Rapids. She’s the new founder of Dollup Beauty.

She created a makeup organizer, which is already selling online.

“I am a professional makeup artists and I always kind of do my makeup on the run and I was digging through my handbag and I thought, oh my gosh there has to be a better way to organize my makeup,” Hynek said.

Hynek isn’t the only one spreading the word of her creation. Laurie Moritz is also hard at work.

“These are my ingredients, this is my cocoa powder,” Moritz said.

On July 5, Moritz launched her startup business called “Sweet Raw Joy.” She’s using whole ingredients to produce treats in her church’s kitchen.

“They don’t have flower or sugar or eggs, and so it doesn’t need that chemical process to create these creations,” Moritz said.

Both want to expand. They hope this upcoming event could be their key to success.

Organizers, however, said this can also help with what they see as a bigger issue.

“Sadly, Iowa actually ranks last in the nation, fifty-first to be exact, in the economic impact that women-owned businesses have within the state,” said President of Ascent, Lydia Brown.

For the businesswomen they’re just starting down a path to fulfill a dream.

“When this came to me, I was like I have to go for it,” Hynek said.

For them, the sky’s the limit.

“I can’t help but grow. I’m already growing,” Moritz said.

The public is welcome to buy tickets for the event to see the women present their business ideas to the panel of investors.

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