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NewBo City Market launches several new initiatives

NewBo City Market (NBCM) has launched new initiatives to further expand its business incubator program in 2022.

These additions include a childcare stipend program, the Entrepreneurs Equity Fund, the Young Entrepreneurship program, and the Entrepreneurs Lending Library. With these additions, NBCM hopes to continue to diversify and foster equitable economic development in the Corridor.

Childcare stipends

Access to affordable childcare is often a barrier to entrepreneurs transitioning from working in the home or corporate setting; most particularly for women.

NBCM aims to reduce these barriers for Shopkeepers with children in 2022 by offering a stipend to help cover the cost of childcare services.

With this new program, Shopkeepers can receive up to $300 per month for children up to 13 years of age, and up to 19 years of age for children with disabilities.

“With my daughter being special needs, and that being included, these stipends will really be helpful,” said Cheryl Pledge Kardell, owner of The Artisan’s Emporium. “Now she’s at the age where bringing her with me to work doesn’t work. Finding care for her will give me more time to be creative and focus on my business.”

NewBo City Market hopes for its Shopkeepers’ success, regardless of parental status. This stipend program offers a way for NBCM to subsidize quality childcare for entrepreneurs and contribute to the economic development within the Greater Cedar Rapids community.

The childcare stipend program is made possible by the CLA Foundation and the Cedar Grove Signature Fund.

Entrepreneurs Equity Fund

The Entrepreneurs Equity Fund allows NBCM to continue supporting guest vendors through rent discounts, entrepreneurial outreach and specialty Guest Vendors Markets that shine a spotlight on minority-owned small businesses.

The Cedar Grove Signature Fund, The CLA Foundation, MidAmerican Energy Company, and UFG Insurance have all made The Entrepreneurs Equity Fund possible in 2022.

“UFG Insurance is proud to sponsor the Entrepreneurs Equity Fund in support of small business owners in Cedar Rapids,” said UFG President and CEO Randy Ramlo. “As an insurer of thousands of small businesses across the country, we understand the many challenges business owners face and are pleased to be able to partner with NewBo City Market in this promising new endeavor.”

Thanks to generous sponsors, guest vendors from all walks of life will now have access to NBCM’s resources and platform.

The Entrepreneurs Equity Fund is yet another way that NBCM is continuing its efforts as a nonprofit small business incubator, lowering barriers to entry for local entrepreneurs with varying backgrounds and experiences.

Student mentorship

In 2022, NBCM is continuing its work with local high school students, specifically to help teachers and students develop business plans, create products, and prepare for the end of the semester Young Entrepreneurs Market, which will be directly tied to classroom curriculum.

Students are also eligible to apply for grants from NBCM to purchase materials for launching their small business. They are encouraged to participate in any of the other applicable themed markets throughout the year and always receive a free daily booth rental. Mentorship also includes visits from diverse NBCM Shopkeepers so that students may connect with business owners with whom they identify.

“The Young Entrepreneurship program at NBCM has been an incredible learning opportunity for Metro High School students,” said Daniel DeVore, Principal of Metro High School. “This program allows a hands-on learning experience where prospective entrepreneurs can be mentored by community members who have lived the life they seek as well as illustrating to these innovative students the potential value and power of their own work.”

Students who participated in this program in 2021 have completed internships, been approached for wider distribution of their products at local hospitals, and discovered their passions for entrepreneurialism. NBCM is proud to witness and assist in their successes.

Entrepreneurs Lending Library

Started in 2022, NBCM Shopkeepers now have access to the Entrepreneurs Lending Library, a growing collection of entrepreneurship-focussed books. These books are available to lend and read for free and easily accessible in the NBCM office.

“As an entrepreneur, I always sought out more knowledge to apply to my business. One of the things I have learned over the years is that it’s easy to be technically proficient at a thing you’re passionate about, like baking or knitting or being a vegan chef, but developing your business acumen is usually an afterthought,” said Julie Parisi, Executive Director of NBCM. “With the Entrepreneurs Lending Library, our Shopkeepers have immediate access to a carefully curated collection of books with a wide range of topics including business finance, marketing, and creating legal business entities.”

The Entrepreneurs Lending Library is made possible by generous donations from individual Market supporters.

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