Photo of Heidi Bell

AMES, Iowa — The Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has announced the 2013 award winners for its two special entrepreneur awards.

Heidi Bell, owner, From The Ground, Leon, is the 2013 Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur Achievement Award winner. Michael Sexton, founder/owner, Real Time Ag, LLC, Rockwell City, is the 2013 Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner.

The Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur Achievement Award honors an Iowa woman entrepreneur who has significantly changed or improved her life and the lives of others. The award is presented in memory of Deb Dalziel, a devoted small business advocate who was director of the Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Community College, Burlington, from 1987 until her death from cancer in 1999 at the age of 44.

Read more: Iowa SBDC Announces 2013 Entrepreneur Award Winners

Bill Oetken at Office Machines

Oetken Office Machines Opens for Business

In 1995, Bill Oetken was recruited from his job as produce manager for Easter’s Family Center in Creston to be a sales representative for Steve Maltzahn’s business, Creston Office Machines.  Oetken had a degree in business and an interest in sales so he jumped at the opportunity, not realizing that leap would lead him to business ownership someday.

Read more: Office Machines

Photo of Rick and Julie Shafer

Freedom Creek Prairie Builds Beauty and Habitats in Nature

For almost 20 years, Rick and Julie Schafer of rural Prescott worked for “the other guy” before deciding to start a business and try it on their own.  The Schafer’s, Julie who was formerly a nurse and Rick who was employed in ag retail, had been interested in prairie land and working with prairie remnants for a long time.  They started doing some work seeding for landowners and in 2010, when Julie’s nursing position was eliminated, the Schafer’s “took a leap” and started Freedom Creek Prairie, a business focusing on prairie remnants and natural habitats.

Freedom Creek Prairie has a mission of promoting habitat as nature intended through the discovery and study of remnant prairie areas, thoughtful preservation, restoration, and reconstruction with local eco-type seed.  According to Rick, the business has really evolved to get to the point they are at today.

Read more: Freedom Creek Prairie