Iowa State Univ. organization awarded for assisting local businesses amid pandemic

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 8:04 AM CST
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AMES, Iowa (KCCI) - One organization at Iowa State University received national recognition after spending the year helping local small businesses.

The Iowa Small Business Development Center in Ames served about 5,000 businesses before the pandemic.

But during the first three months, that number jumped to 70,000.

The group had what they call “photoboxes” made and distributed all over Iowa.

They’re designed to help business owners take professional photos of their products.

All this work is why the group received the 2021 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Place Award.

It’s from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

Now, Lisa Shimkat, with the Iowa Small Business Development Center, said it is looking forward to new challenges.

“And as consumers, you’ve seen it as well because restaurants have changed hours of operation because of staffing shortages,” Shimkat said. “Manufacturers are having a hard time getting some of their employees. To be able to have a say in the auto industry is another industry that has dramatically with the chip shortage and other disruptions within the supply chain.”

The group’s services are free for anyone looking to start a business, or even current small business owners.

Anyone interested in reaching out for a consultation can go to

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