Great River Region Entrepreneurial Technical Assistance

Written by on October 13, 2012 in News

Great River Region Entrepreneurial Technical Assistance Project is Planning Several Programs to Enhance Local Foods and Regional Flavors in Lee, Henry, Louisa, and Des Moines Counties

The Great River Region Entrepreneurial Technical Assistance (GRRETA) Project is a new initiative to assist small and emerging entrepreneurs in Lee, Henry, Louisa, and Des Moines counties. The GRRETA Project will host several programs over the next year to help build support for entrepreneurs. These activities will include a webinar series, a regional flavors branding initiative, a food product development workshop, and a business plan competition.

The kickoff program is a webinar series called Working with Entrepreneurs. This webinar series is free for participants from the region and is scheduled every Thursday at noon during October and November. Registration is online at

In February, the GRRETA Project will be bringing together leaders in the region for a Regional Flavors Discovery Day. The goal of this event is to develop a regional brand and to take steps to plan an annual Regional Flavors marketing event that will promote regional heritage, arts, foods, tourism, and other unique assets of the region.

On March 23rd the GRRETA Project is hosting a one-day Recipe to Reality workshop presented by the National Food Product Development Center’s Entrepreneur Assistance Program from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This one-day workshop provides an overview of how to create, manufacture, and market a new food product for prospective entrepreneurs and existing food businesses. Topics will include market research, product development, packaging, labeling, pricing, product introduction, promotional materials, food safety, and legal and business structure issues.

The GRRETA Project will also assist the Louisa Initiative for Entrepreneurship (LIFE) with a business plan competition and translation of entrepreneurial materials and videos for a workshop to provide an opportunity for new resident populations to learn about how create a business enterprise in the region.

“Many people travel through our region without realizing the food, culture, heritage, and amenities that we have to offer,” said Alex Merk, GRRETA program coordinator. “Through these programs, the major goal is to develop a more robust food system and to build the capacity to improve the marketing of regional flavors of Southeast Iowa through entrepreneurial development.” More information and updates about upcoming GRRETA programs is available at

The Great River Region Entrepreneurial Technical Assistance (GRRETA) Project is supported by a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant to the Lee County Economic Development Group and collaborators that include economic development organizations and chambers, small business and entrepreneurial development professionals, ISU Extension and Outreach, and local food system support networks from Lee, Henry, Louisa, and Des Moines counties in Southeast Iowa.

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