My husband and I are in the early process of purchasing a business. After some searching, a couple hints from a friend and a newspaper article in the Des Moines Register we stumbled on the Targeted Small Business program offered through the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals and the Iowa Department of Economic Development. The TSB program is for Iowa businesses that are at least 51% owned and managed by minorities and/or women or persons with disabilities. One purpose of the program is to provide financial assistance in the form of low interest loans and/or grants to new or existing businesses.

The process (as I am currently discovering) does take a little work. First, you must become a certified TSB through the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals. The application requires information concerning you and the current and/or future business. Because our business is not yet established my husband and I will apply to be conditionally certified. Once we are up and running we can become fully certified.

Once certified (conditionally or fully), you are eligible to apply for the TSB Financial Assistance Program. The financial assistance application is a bit more involved than the certification application. A complete business plan, including projected financials is required. Those who have little or no experience in developing a business plan or projecting profits and losses can contact the Department of Economic Development and be assigned an assistant who will guide you through the process.

If you are a minority, woman or person with disability thinking about starting your own business or expanding a current business, you should consider the Targeted Small Business Program.