Entrepreneurial Development

The Cedar Valley offers supportive infrastructure that enables the entrepreneurial spirit to thrive. Following are some of the resources available for start-ups and existing businesses looking to grow in the Cedar Valley. 

Applied Research and Commercialization

Metal Casting Center

The University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center is a nationally recognized leader in foundry research, applied technology and technical business assistance. For more than 25 years, we have pushed the boundaries on education and research to enhance the metal casting industry.

UNI Tech Transfer

The technology transfer process at the University of Northern Iowa is a collaboration among the Office of Intellectual Property, UNI Research Foundation, Business and Community Services and of course, innovators. Together, these offices provide an integrated approach to protecting intellectual property and advancing projects toward commercialization. The services to innovators include steering projects through the approval process, searching existing patents, assistance with patent applications, market analysis, business plan development, and negotiation of licensing agreements.

Innovation Infrastructure

Gigabit service

Several communities in the six-county Cedar Valley region can provide gigabit internet connections for your business needs.

Techworks Campus

The TechWorks Campus is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing, research and development, innovation, education, commercial and manufacturing center. Located in downtown Waterloo, the campus is comprised of 20 acres of development sites and 300,000 square feet of flex space, and is a place for innovation and development.


IASourceLink connects Iowa entrepreneurs to a network of 360+ nonprofit resource organizations that provide business building services. We facilitate the linking of these resource organizations to one another and to established, emerging and start-up small businesses.

Business Concierge

Starting or expanding your business is hard, finding help shouldn’t be. The Business Concierge provides actionable, business intelligence at no charge and personalized to meet your needs. We also connect you to our trusted network of experts that can help your business grow. Contact us by phone, email or on the web to get your business questions answered today.

A sampling of services  we offer:

  • Market trends and industry statistics
  • Prospect lists
  • Demographics and expenditure data
  • Psychographic profiles
  • Competitors' sales figures
  • Financial benchmarking metrics

The Business Concierge is a program by UNI Center for Business Growth and Innovation, in partnership with IASourceLink.

Advance Iowa

Advance Iowa partners with economic development organizations across the state to identify and recruit midsize growth companies. All Advance Iowa clients are encouraged to apply for our program in partnership with their local economic development organization.


Iowa's SBDC provides free, confidential, customized and professional business advice in all 99 Iowa counties to entrepreneurs and existing businesses with 500 employees or less. 

Entrepreneurial Community

UNI Student Incubator

Student business owners explore business ideas with the assistance of staff and other professionals. Students are admitted on a semester basis and must demonstrate adequate progress to remain in the program. Students are required to participate in John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center programs designed to increase the chances for entrepreneurial success.

Gravitate Coworking

Gravitate Coworking is more than a place to work. Sure, we have space - and it's hip and cool - but the core of who we are is our community. A place you can come to network, generate new ideas, learn, develop relationships, connect with talent, and build a business

Cedar Valley Makerspace

The Cedar Valley Makerspace is housed in 5,500 square feet of newly redeveloped industrial space on the third floor of the Techworks Campus Tech1 building.

Tooling and equipment includes woodworking, metal fabrication, digital fabrication, 3D printing, electronics work space and more. Additional classroom and commons space are available for workshops and events.

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