Are you an entrepreneur with a vision to reshape downtown Dubuque's landscape? Perhaps you're a seasoned business owner looking to expand your footprint? You could be Dubuque's missing puzzle piece, and here's your chance to shine! Dubuque Main Street, in collaboration with Main Street Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority, presents the 9th annual Open 4 Business competition, offering a golden opportunity to turn your business dreams into reality.

PHOTO CREDIT: City of Dubuque Facebook
PHOTO CREDIT: City of Dubuque Facebook

What's at Stake in this Competition?

With a total pool of up to $28,500 in funding, this competition isn't just a platform to showcase your entrepreneurial prowess; it's a gateway to financial support that can fuel your business expansion plans. But it's not just about the money; it's about fostering innovation, creating jobs, and revitalizing our beloved Main Street districts.

Credit: Staras

So, Who Can Participate in the Open 4 Business Competition?

If you're an existing for-profit business within the Dubuque Main Street service area or planning to relocate there, you can throw your hat into the ring. Bonus points if your venture fills a gap in goods or services currently lacking in downtown Dubuque. Whether you're a retail maven, culinary genius, or tech innovator, this competition is for you!

Credit: IR_Stone
Credit: IR_Stone

How Does Dubuque's Open 4 Business Competition Work?

The application process is straightforward. Submit a one-page summary outlining your business expansion idea and budget by April 5th. But here's the fun part: accompany your proposal with a dynamic 3-minute "sales pitch" to the DMS office. Bring your A-game with PowerPoint presentations, samples, or props – let your creativity shine!

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Local Selection, Dubuque Goals, and Beyond

Dubuque Main Street will handpick one finalist to represent our community in the state competition, earning them a local award of $500. This lucky contender will then go head-to-head with other finalists from across Iowa, vying for a spot in the prestigious state finals. The essence of the Open 4 Business competition lies in its core goals:

  1. Stimulate business expansion in Main Street districts.
  2. Cultivate a conducive environment for further investment.
  3. Support local revitalization endeavors.
  4. Showcase the vibrancy of Main Street communities.
  5. Provide exclusive financial incentives for local programs.
  6. Drive job creation and business growth.
Credit: City of Dubuque
Credit: City of Dubuque

You'll receive $8,000 to fuel your expansion plans if chosen as one of the five state semi-finalists. But remember, it's not just about the prize money; it's about realizing your vision and contributing to the economic fabric of our community. And if you clinch the statewide title, you'll walk away with a whopping $20,000!

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Need guidance or additional information? Reach out to Danielle Jacobs, the Executive Director at the Dubuque Main Street office. Remember, this isn't just a competition; it's an opportunity to make a lasting impact on downtown Dubuque. Dust off those business plans, sharpen your pitch, and let's show Iowa what downtown Dubuque is REALLY made of! The future of our Main Street is in your hands. For more details and updates, visit

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