Jefferson Matters is one of five recipients of the Rural Return grants offered by Iowa Economic Development Authority announced recently. The application was submitted under the Economic Vitality Team and is part of the Empower Rural Iowa initiative. Plans for the use of the $20,000 grant funds include hiring a locally contracted marketing specialist and work with Chatterkick, a creative social media agency, to develop a website landing page and promotional materials specific for today’s Jefferson. Chatterkick has been involved with the social media internship program at Greene County High School and is familiar with the community. This project is meant to create a marketing strategy for recruitment purposes.
Economic Vitality chairperson, Peg Raney shared, “This creative website landing page would direct people to various amenities offered for those looking to locate here. With updated school facilities, more daycare options, housing developments, excellent healthcare facilities, and parks and recreation amenities, the community needs to coordinate the effort to get this information out. Our beautiful and pedestrian friendly downtown, many attractions and access to broadband make Jefferson a very attractive place for a business to open. The grant application was entitled “Jefferson Wants You!” for that reason. There are gaps of businesses that need to be filled and the coordination of what Jefferson has to offer will help in that recruitment.”
The second component of the Rural Return Grant is to develop an Incentive Fund to offer for start-up costs for small businesses to open. Jefferson Telecom provided a kick-start for the application and additional financing for this fund is in the development stage. A selection committee will create the application and interview process. The intention of the Jefferson Wants You Incentive Fund is to offer some part of start-up costs for a small business. This fund could also pay for a membership at Gravitate in Jefferson for remote workers who move here. This financial incentive adds to the many resources already available to support small businesses locating in Jefferson.
The Rural Return Grant for Jefferson was awarded because it can be a model for other rural communities coordinating resources to encourage businesses and families to locate in Iowa’s rural communities. The Economic Vitality Team intends to roll out this project this spring before the 2022 Bell Tower Festival, Jefferson’s Sesquicentennial. Peg Raney of the Economic Vitality Team welcomes interested volunteers to get involved.
More information about the project as it develops will be forthcoming.
More info about the Rural Return Grant program: