2020 Open 4 Business Contest


Do you have a great business idea? Have you always wanted to own a business in downtown Keokuk? Is your current business planning to expand services or add a new product line? Do you have a piece of equipment you wish you could purchase for your business?

Main Street Keokuk, Inc. is looking for interested entrepreneurs who could use $28,000 to expand and grow their business idea within the Keokuk Main Street district. The Open 4 Business contest, launched in 2015, is an opportunity for businesses located within a state-designated Main Street district, to compete for a chance to win up to $28,000 in grant funds to assist with a business development or expansion project that will help them grow their business.

Businesses must complete an online application and submit a short video outlining their business idea and how it will help benefit the local economic climate in Keokuk. A 25-percent cash match is required. Businesses must have been in operation for a least 1-year to apply. The grant funds are administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa program. Each designated Main Street Iowa community may submit one local application.

Applicants must be a for-profit business located in the Main Street Keokuk, Inc. district. If you have been in business and are either currently or planning to be located in downtown Keokuk, you qualify!

Be sure to read through the rules, guidelines, and scoring criteria, complete the application and your 5-minute video pitch and submit them via email to director@mainstreetkeokuk.com.

The deadline to submit is March 16, 2020, at 11:59 PM.

On Wednesday, March 18, MSKI will score applications and announce the local winner who will then participate in the May 28 semifinals for a chance at $8,000. The five finalists will then present their ideas in a statewide contest at the Iowa Downtown Conference on July 27, 2020, in Iowa City for up to an additional $20,000 in funding.

For more specifics about the application and requirements, click links below:

Open 4 Business Contest Rules

Contest Guidelines

Budget Sample

Judges Scoring Criteria

To apply for the MSKI Open 4 Business Competition, click the link below:

Open 4 Business Application

Application and 5-minute or less video pitch must be submitted by March 16, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Submit video pitch to director@mainstreetkeokuk.com

If you would like additional information about the competition contact MSKI’s executive director, Joyce Glasscock 319.524.5056 or email director@mainstreetkeokuk.com or Robin Bostrom, Business Specialist, Iowa Downtown Resource Center/Main Street Iowa at 525.348.6176 or email robin.bostrom@iowaEDA.com.

Main Street Keokuk, Inc. is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the development and ongoing support of downtown as the place in our community to live, work, play, and invest.