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Launching an Entrepreneurship Hub in Dubuque County

The Innovation Lab launched in 2018 with a mission to foster creativity and innovation in the communities where we work. Since then, our Innovation Works services have helped dozens of companies and organizations create better processes, programs, marketing solutions, and strategies for growth. Our coworking spaces have been home to freelancers, remote workers, and new business ventures, and the Innovation Lab has become an organic hub for entrepreneurs to access services to help them grow their business ideas, including workshops, meet-ups, and accelerator programs like Iowa Venture School.

In 2022, the Innovation Lab convened like-minded service providers and entrepreneurs to think about how to make Dubuque County’s entrepreneurial ecosystem even stronger. Through a series of meetings, innovation sessions, and a survey of entrepreneurs we identified five gaps in our ecosystem that hinder entrepreneurship including

  1. Knowledge of and access to market research data and strategies

  2. Knowledge of and access to product design/prototyping services

  3. Availability of peer learning opportunities

  4. Knowledge of and access to technical assistance or educational opportunities

  5. Knowledge of and access to very early seed funding opportunities

To help address this need, The Innovation Lab received a $400,000 grant from Dubuque County in early 2023 to work as a Hub for helping to connect entrepreneurs to the support they need to launch or grow their businesses over the next three years.

The grant will support quarterly innovation sessions with entrepreneurs to develop and implement solutions, seed funding for events to connect and engage entrepreneurs, and seed funding to help launch new initiatives in the County to support entrepreneurship. In addition, The Innovation Lab is a Hub for fostering relationships among entrepreneurs and with service providers to help businesses thrive.

You can learn more about our work to support entrepreneurs and take part in events by subscribing to our newsletter or checking out upcoming events on our Facebook page.


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