Local Resources 

City of Iowa City Economic Development

From big business to start-ups and mom and pop operations, the City of Iowa City's Economic Development Division is here to answer questions about doing business in Iowa City. 

Working in cooperation with other city departments and the Iowa City Area Development Group, Economic Development assists developers and businesses with specific commercial, office, and industrial development projects. This assistance ranges from helping to understand local regulations to determining available local public financial assistance.

For those new to business, or new to business in Iowa City, this link to Starting a Business in Iowa City may answer some common questions. You'll find information about home based businesses, whether you need a license to operate and information about zoning and building permits. 

Economic Development contact

Wendy Ford, Economic Development Coordinator 

Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD) and MERGE 

ICAD Group is available to assist interstate commerce companies with location or expansion projects, workforce development and entrepreneurial services.

Services include access to a computerized database of sites and buildings, community and site tours for business expansion and location projects, community profiles and quality of life information, entrepreneurial development programming and space, labor and demographic information, state and local economic development incentive assistance, utility information, including rates and availability, workforce development programming and services.

MERGE, 132 S. Dubuque Street,  operated by ICAD is Iowa City's home for startups with dedicated space for occasional or monthly desk space and office rental. It also includes a workshop for device prototyping and fabrication, with equipment for laser cutting and etching, 3D printing, and other machine technologies.

ICAD contact 

Kate Moreland, Iowa City Area Development Group 

  • Phone: 319-354-3939
  • Address:  136 S.  Dubuque Street, (corner of Dubuque and College Streets on the PedMall) in downtown Iowa City. 

Small Business Development Center

The University of Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a non-profit organization providing free and confidential business management assistance to owners and managers of for-profit businesses and individuals interested in starting their own businesses.

The Small Business Development Center assists with developing a business plan, locating financial assistance, determining the target market, obtaining necessary information about state and federal taxes, registering business names, licensing requirements and more.

SBDC also advises individuals considering purchasing a business and individuals looking at franchise opportunities. They have the necessary tools to help in the decision making process. In addition to one-on-one counseling, the SBDC offers seminars and short courses. Whether a client is considering starting a business or is growing an existing business, the SBDC can provide many of the resources needed to succeed.

SBDC contact 

Paul Heath, Small Business Development Center 

  • Phone: 319-335-3742
  • Address:  W410 BioVentures Center, 2500 Crosspark Road, Coralville, IA 52241

State of Iowa Resources 

Iowa Economic Development Authority 

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) offers a variety of programs and services to individuals, communities and businesses to attract and grow business, employment and workforce in Iowa. Ground-breaking economic growth strategies focusing on cultivating start-up companies and helping existing companies become more innovative complement the activities underway to retain and attract companies that are creating jobs for Iowans. Developing sustainable, adaptable communities ready for this growth is also an essential part of our work at IEDA — providing programs and resources that help communities reinvest, recover and revitalize to make each community’s vision a reality. Much of what you know about Iowa is true. It’s what you don’t know that sets us apart.

IEDA Contact

Business Development

  • Phone: 515-725-3133
  • Address: 200 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309
  • Email: business@iowa.gov 

Iowa Secretary of State

The Iowa Secretary of State provides information for corporations, non-profit organizations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and state trademarks. 

Secretary of State contact

  • Phone: 515-281-5204 
  • Address: Hoover State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319 

Iowa Department of Agriculture

The Iowa Department of Agriculture provides: 

  • Regulatory information for food-related and animal-related businesses
  • Information concerning weights and measures
  • Information for commercial grain storage and grain sales businesses

Iowa Department of Agriculture contact 

  • Phone: 515-281-5321
  • Address: Wallace State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319 

Iowa Department of Commerce

The Iowa Department of Commerce provides: 

  • Licensing for retails and wholesale sales of alcoholic liquor, wine, and beer (515) 281-7430
  • Information concerning rates and services of certain electric, gas, phone, and water utilities (515) 281-5979
  • Problem resolution and information concerning insurance for small businesses (515) 281-5705
  • Assistance to small businesses concerning the sale of stock (515) 281-4441
  • Licensing for the following professions: Certified Public Accountants, Accounting Practitioners, Architects, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Salespersons, Real Estate Appraisers 515-281-3183
  • Regulation of state chartered banks, finance companies, mortgage brokers, and others in the business of delivering financial products and services 515-281-4014

Iowa Department of Commerce contact 

Address: 1918 S.E. Hulsizer Avenue, Ankeny, IA 50021

Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals

The Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals provides: 

  • Restaurant and food sales licensing
  • Gambling license information
  • Targeted small business certification
  • Licensing of residential care facilities and intermediate care facilities
  • Certification of home health agencies

Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals contact

  • Phone: 515-281-3642
  • Address: ​Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319 

Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance

The Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance provides: 

  • Sales and use taxes
  • Hotel/Motel tax

Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance contact

  • Phone: 1-800-367-3388 (from outside the Des Moines metropolitan area or from the Omaha or Moline-Rock Island calling areas)
  • Phone: (515) 281-3114 (from the Des Moines metropolitan area or from out of state)
  • Address: Hoover State Office Building, P.O. Box 10457, Des Moines, IA 50306-1457

Iowa Department of Transportation

  • Motor vehicle dealership information and licensing (515) 237-3162
  • Information for trucking businesses (515) 237-3264
  • Information concerning vehicles subject to registration (515) 237-3110

Iowa Department of Transportation contact

  • Phone: 515-239-1101
  • Address: Park Fair Mall, 100 Euclid Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50306

Iowa Workforce Development

Iowa Workforce Development provides:

  • OSHA consultations and information on labor laws
  • Unemployment insurance information
  • Worker's compensation information
  • Information concerning child labor laws, minimum wage, wage enforcement, and hazardous chemicals
  • Boiler, elevator, and amusement ride inspection; licensing of private employment agencies and professional boxing and wrestling; and registration of construction contractors (515) 281-3606

Iowa Workforce Development contact

  • Phone: 1-800-562-4692
  • Address: 1000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319