City of Iowa City Economic Development

Contact the Economic Development Division for questions about doing business in Iowa City. Big business, start ups, or Mom and Pop, the Economic Development Division is here to help answer questions.

Working in cooperation with other city departments and the Iowa City Area Development Group, the Economic Development Division 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 your questions. You'll find answers to questions about home based businesses, whether you need a license to operate and information about zoning and building permits. If you can't find what you are looking for, please feel free to email or call 319-356-5248.

Wendy Ford | City of Iowa City | Neighborhood and Development Services
410 E. Washington Street | Iowa City, IA 52240 | phone (319) 356-5000 | email

Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD) | Merge | CoLab

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, opening summer 2016, will include offices for startups and dedicated space for coding, programming, and web and mobile app development. It will also include a workshop for device prototyping and fabrication, with equipment for laser cutting and etching, 3D printing, and other machine technologies.

COLAB is a program of the Iowa City Area Development Group and provides coworking space for start ups and small businesses.

Mark Nolte | Iowa City Area Development Group | Corner of Dubuque and College Streets on the PedMall | Iowa City, Iowa 52240
phone (319) 354-3939

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 can assist with developing a business plan, locating financial assistance, determining the target market, obtaining necessary information about state and federal taxes, registering the business name, 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.

Paul Heath | Small Business Development Center | The University of Iowa | W410 BioVentures Center | 2500 Crosspark Road
Coralville, IA 52241 | phone (319) 335-3742

State of Iowa Departments

Iowa Economic Development Authority 

Business Development | 200 East Grand Avenue | Des Moines, IA 50309 | 515-725-3133

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.


Iowa Secretary of State

Hoover State Office Building | Des Moines, IA 50319 | (515) 281-5204

Information for corporations, non-profit organizations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and state trademarks

Iowa Department of Agriculture

Wallace State Office Building | Des Moines, IA 50319 | (515) 281-532

  • 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 Commerce

1918 S.E. Hulsizer Avenue | Ankeny, IA 50021

  • 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 Inspections and Appeals

Lucas State Office Building | Des Moines, IA 50319 | (515) 281-3642

  • 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 Revenue and Finance

Taxpayer Services | Hoover State Office Building | P.O. Box 10457 | Des Moines, IA 50306-1457

1-800-367-3388 (from outside the Des Moines metropolitan area or from the Omaha or Moline-Rock Island calling areas)
(515) 281-3114 (from the Des Moines metropolitan area or from out of state)

  • Sales and use taxes
  • Hotel/Motel tax

Iowa Department of Transportation

Motor Vehicle Decision | Park Fair Mall | 100 Euclid Avenue | Des Moines, IA 50306
  • 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 Workforce Development

  • 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

1000 East Grand Avenue | Des Moines, IA 50319 | 1-800-562-4692