As Iowans, I know many of you are getting tired of the political landscape at the moment, and are counting down the days until the Iowa Caucuses. After all, we have been seeing and hearing from political candidates for well over a year now, whereas the rest of the country is just gearing up for what we've already become accustomed to. But let me take a moment to remind you that this is our time to shine - regardless of what political party you align with - Iowa is afforded an opportunity unique of anyone else in the country. I was reminded of this recently as I was with a group of colleagues from across the country and found myself frequently defending Iowa's position as the first in the nation. It was in those moments that I was reminded what an incredible moment this really is for Iowa, and while yes, I, too, am a little tired of all the political ads flooding the television and social streams, it's important to remember that this is our right. As Iowans and Americans, we have the right to vote and make our voices heard. There are not many places in the country who will be able to say, regardless of how the November election turns out, that they've had a chance to hear first-hand from the President of the United States in their coffee shop, diner, business operation or a rally. But as Iowans, we are often afforded that opportunity.
As Caucus night nears, I would encourage you to take part in the process, even if as an observer. This is a unique process, and we should embrace it as it truly does put our State on a platform that has trickle-down effect for all of us, not to mention the positive economic impact it's created for the State (2,000+ media correspondents are in Des Moines this week/weekend alone) as a whole but even our smaller community. From political offices leasing space, to media buys and coverage, to constant recognition across the country - these all have positive economic gain for our community.
As long as we're talking about our rights, I want to remind you of the Legislative Coffee, the first of which will take place this Saturday at 9AM at the Presbyterian Church. Our elected officials, Senator Kapucian and Representative Maxwell, will be in attendance to share some of the house happenings as well as take questions from attendees. These are important opportunities to share your praises and concerns and take a more active role in local government and policy. These events are co-hosted by the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce and Grinnell's League of Women Voters.
p.s. If you're interested in Caucusing, or observing the evening, but not sure where to go you can find that information here.
We are busy making plans for the Chamber's Annual Celebration, our annual event to connect with the business community while focusing on the achievements we've had in the previous year and outlining the slate for the coming one, all while recognizing our amazing business community and contributors.
Each year we ask you, our community-at-large, to nominate your favorite businesses, organizations and individuals for these annual awards. We believe success is best when shared, and we want you to share some of the successes you have had or recognized over the past year. Where have you had an extraordinary experience, who has done amazing things with their business, who are the up-and-comers in our business community? These are the people we're looking to recognize - those people who put tireless hours and passion into their businesses, careers and community.
Everyone is invited to submit nominations: you do not need to be affiliated with a Chamber Member in order to nominate businesses or individuals. Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m. on February 28; past award winners are denoted on the nomination form as they are not eligible for the same category for two years; however, they may be eligible to receive an award in another category. The award recipients will be recognized at the Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration which will take place Wednesday, March 11.
Submit your nominations online here and purchase your tickets now for the celebration of our business community!
You know the saying 'time flies when you're having fun'? I suppose the same could be said for working on visionary projects, which is what we have been busy doing for the past three plus years regarding broadband options in Grinnell. In many ways, it seems like just yesterday that we began working with the City to convene focus group meetings to better understand and determine next steps for downtown (it was actually Fall 2016!). Throughout the meetings, a number of common themes were articulated, including having broadband/reliable internet available to businesses and residents in Grinnell. Following those meetings, the Chamber's Board of Directors charged the staff to develop a comprehensive plan to address the fiber needs of the community and incorporated it into the Chamber's strategic plan. Since that time, our office has spent much time convening meetings, learning and having discussions to lead us to possible solutions.
Nearly one year ago, we used this newsletter to help launch a short survey to better articulate the need and desire for broadband in Grinnell. As a result of those survey responses, earlier this week Mahaska Communications Group (MCG) announced they are coming to Grinnell in 2020! They will begin developing a fiber installation plan and expanding their network to the Grinnell community beginning later this year. While they do not have their exact starting locations and timelines identified just yet, they are committed to running fiber to the entire Grinnell community and will offer a suite of services. Their entire build will likely take about two years; however, customers will be able to 'go live' in networks as soon as they're built. And rest assured, as soon as MCG has identified their zones and build dates, we'll be sure to share it with you, but for now you can find more details on their website.
(MCG team presented to the Grinnell City Counsel and community members on January 14th)
While it has been a long process, it's certainly a rewarding one, especially knowing that just a few months ago our community had very little fiber but following this announcement, and coupled with other area providers' efforts, will soon be a very connected community. We're excited to help share this news with you, knowing broadband and connectivity is something that many of our businesses and residents have been so passionate about for the past few years.
It's hard for me to believe another year has come and gone, but I am excited for the coming year. Have you set your resolutions for 2020? If you, too, are just getting started with your planning for the coming year and are contemplating making a career change or taking the plunge into business ownership, make plans to connect. Our 'Job Opportunities' page of our website is continually updated with new opportunities from our members.
If a new business venture is up your alley, we invite you to connect with our office as one of your stops. We work with all types of businesses that are looking to start and grow in Grinnell, and aim to be a resource to businesses no matter where they are in the process. From brainstorms over coffee to giving feedback on business plans and connecting with community resources, we work with several prospective business ventures each year, especially around this time of year.
If you're thinking of starting a business, now is a great time to get serious about it. Whether you're ready to launch now, or just want to explore the possibilities, please get in touch with our office to see how we can assist you. It doesn't matter if you're about to open, or if you're not even sure if your idea would work here. Let us help you get started.