Iowa seeks new strategy for women-owned businesses

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s business development agency is hiring a nonprofit group to look for ways to turn around the state’s last-in-the-nation ranking for women-owned businesses.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority said Tuesday it is finalizing a two-year, $50,000 professional services contract with Ascent, a Cedar Rapids group dedicated to promoting women-owned businesses.

Spokeswoman Tina Hoffman said Iowa has been ranked “dead last” in a survey conducted by American Express looking at the growth of women-owned businesses in the states. She says state leaders view that as a problem and want to learn more about the barriers that Iowa businesswomen face and how to change them.

She says Ascent will gather data and develop strategies to create and expand women-owned businesses.

Ascent is encouraging women-owned businesses to register on its website, http://www.ascentiowa.org.

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