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Request for Proposals

Dubuque Main Street is looking for proposals for OPEN 4 BUSINESS

For the ninth consecutive year, Dubuque Main Street (DMS), in partnership with Main Street Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority, is sponsoring a competition for up to $28,500 to help fund business/entrepreneurial initiatives. To help business development efforts in Iowa’s Main Street communities, the Open 4 Business competition is a chance for Main Street communities, including Dubuque, to assist business innovation. This is an opportunity for a commercial venture to expand and grow a business idea within one of the ten Main Street districts in downtown Dubuque.


Applicants must be an existing, for-profit business, and must be located within, or planning to relocate within, the DMS service area. DMS is managing the local contest to determine one finalist to represent our community and receive the local $500 award. Bonus consideration will be given to those applicant businesses that help fill a gap for goods or services not currently offered in downtown Dubuque.


Each applicant is required to complete a one-page summary outlining their proposed venture, and a budget for the project, along with a 3-minute (maximum) “sales pitch” about their expansion proposal to the DMS office by April 5th. These proposals may include a PowerPoint presentation, samples, and props. One business will be chosen to represent downtown Dubuque and advance to the state competition.


The PRIMARY goals of the MSI Open 4 Business grant are:

1.            Stimulate and support business expansion projects in Main Street districts

2.            Create a positive climate for additional district investment

3.            Support local revitalization efforts

4.            Demonstrate “Main Street at work” in the local community

5.            Provide local Main Street programs with an exclusive financial incentive program

6.            Create additional jobs and business growth


These goals will be achieved through:

1.            Quality business expansion projects with enhanced revenue opportunities

2.            Creating unique business locations and product offerings

3.            Strategic investment by IEDA into key local projects

4.            Research and utilization of appropriate available financial resources/programs

5.            Creating local job and business opportunities


Twelve state semi-finalists will compete online before a panel of state judges and be further narrowed down to the final five. Each of the five applicants will receive $8,000 and advance to the state finals. To receive state awards, applicants are required to contribute a 25% cash match. If Dubuque’s representative is chosen as one of the five state semi-finalists, DMS will help them prepare for the state contest, which will be a public presentation of their propositions on August 6, 2024, as part of the state’s Downtown Conference in Cedar Rapids.



One statewide winner will receive $20,000! A maximum of $75,000 in funds will be awarded to eligible applicants for business expansion projects within designated Main Street Iowa districts. Details can be found on the Iowa Economic Development Authority website.


The DMS office can provide additional information and resources to assist applicants in completing their entry forms. For additional information, please contact Danielle Jacobs, Executive Director, at the DMS office, 1069 Main Street, by emailing

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