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New Group Working to Spur Women Owned Business Growth in Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--There's some disturbing new numbers for Iowa.

An American Express survey says the Hawkeye state is dead last when it comes to the growth of women owned businesses.

Nina Brundell is the owner of Kieck's, a uniform apparel store in Cedar Rapids.

She says she'd like to see more women take the plunge and start their own businesses.

"It’s important for women to increase the economic development of our state,” she said.

So far, however, it's not happening in Iowa which ranks dead last in a survey of women in business.

Now Ascent, a non-profit group also in Cedar Rapids, wants to help women entrepreneurs get a start.

"I think Ascent would be great in giving them besides mentoring just the support you can't do everything,” Brundell said.

Finding that help beyond mentoring is a critical role for ascent.

All the statistics will show that the growth is going to be in women and minority owned businesses and there's a real opportunity for Iowa to lead the charge, said Ascent president and CEO, Lydia Brown.

Brundell's Kieck's is already taking charge, locally for example uniforms for Quaker oats, Kirkwood’s culinary department and even the Cedar Rapids fire department can be found at Kieck’s.

That success can provide a role model for future businesswomen.

"If we really have a growth pattern for women owned businesses hopefully more the women that are graduating from colleges will stay here,” Brown said.

Ascent is about to get a large, two-year state grant to help in its efforts.
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