Start a Business
Waukee recognizes the vital role of local businesses in the economic growth and stability of the community. Starting a business involves planning, making key financial and legal decisions, and connecting with individuals who will help make your business successful. The following steps can help you plan and launch your business in Waukee.
1. Write a business plan
- Write down your idea and some notes about your idea. Then, get started on your business plan. For assistance, request counseling with the Small Business Development Center.
2. Apply to Venture School (optional)
- The University of Iowa Venture School is a statewide program that emphasizes real-world entrepreneurship. The 6-week program is offered online and in person in Iowa City, Des Moines, Quad Cities, and Cedar Falls.
- The City of Waukee partners with Venture School to support local entrepreneurs by providing a full-tuition scholarship to one team per cohort. Applicants from Waukee will be automatically considered for the scholarship. Apply today!
3. Request Business Counseling
- The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides no fee, confidential, customized business counseling to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.
- SBDC counselors provided assistance with business planning, financing opportunities, market research, business growth strategies and much more.
- Waukee is served by the Mid Iowa SBDC, led by Christina Moffatt. Christina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to entrepreneurs—before joining the organization as a regional director, she received assistance from Mid Iowa SBDC to start and grow her bakery, Crème Cupcake + Dessert.
- The City of Waukee refers local entrepreneurs to the Small Business Development Center to help them develop their business ideas. Community & Economic Development staff is available to help entrepreneurs locate specific information (demographics, consumer spending, zoning and building codes, etc.) to support a business plan.
4. Understand the Regulatory Environment
- If you wish to operate your business under a trade name, visit the Dallas County Recorder to register your trade name.
- Iowa licensing requirements vary by the type of business. Review the Licensing Resources for Small Business fact sheet or visit IASourcelink.com for more information.
- The City of Waukee does not require local licensing. Community and Economic Development staff is available to help entrepreneurs understand zoning regulations and apply for building and sign permits, if needed.
5. Choose a Business Location
- If you plan to build or lease space for your business, Community and Economic Development staff is available to help you find a location that meets your needs.
- You can search for sites and buildings, or request a customized proposal.
6. Finance Your Business
- The Small Business Development Center assists entrepreneurs in identifying financing opportunities, projecting cash flows, and creating loan proposals.
- Waukee Community & Economic Development staff evaluates business for local financial incentives and supports businesses' applications for state economic development incentives.
7. Discover Local Resources
- In addition to the Small Business Development Center, there are many local resources that support small business.
- Waukee Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) partners with the business community to bring real world experiences to high school students.
- University of Northern Iowa MyEntre.Net works closely with the Iowa Economic Development Authority and serves the Iowa business community by collaboratively producing IASourceLink. UNI sponsors the annual Dream Big Grow Here competition.
- The Tippie Business Solutions Center (BSC) brings together cross-functional teams of MBA students to deliver unique solutions to businesses statewide, backed by extensive research and innovative ideas.
8. Get involved
- After your business is established, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the local community. Showcase your business at Chamber of Commerce events like "What's Cookin' in Waukee" and "Waukee Fall Harvest."
- Recognizing the vital role of local businesses in the growth and stability of the community, Waukee supports local business through ongoing business retention and expansion efforts. Community and Economic Development staff is available to help businesses identify expansion opportunities and access programs intended to make them more competitive.