For seven years, Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program has provided mentoring, education and financial resources to help rural entrepreneurs successfully grow their businesses.

Now Renew Rural Iowa is enhancing its educational opportunities for small-business owners and entrepreneurs, starting with its “Journey to Your Vision” seminar March 11.

The seminar, hosted at the Iowa Farm Bureau headquarters in West Des Moines, will offer hands-on lessons and real-world advice to help address the challenges that business owners face.

In addition, attendees will learn about Renew Rural Iowa's Pathways, a  new comprehensive searchable database of video resources, available to serve entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes.

Leading the "Journey to Your Vision" seminar are presenters Mike Kleis, president of Renaissance Executive Forums of Iowa, and Joel Bennet, lead consultant of Veel Hoeden Consulting in Pella.  

"We're excited about the new offerings to our program this year that will feature 'the best of the best' national leaders," said Sandy Ehrig, Iowa Farm Bureau's economic development administrator. "Farm Bureau has always believed that strong, vibrant rural communities are the fabric of Iowa, and we are committed to helping them thrive for the long term. That's why we've invested more than $80 million in rural communities in the last decade."

At the seminar, Iowa business leaders will learn how to cut through the confusion that comes with developing and growing a business and recognize the stages of business growth, their unique challenges and methods to overcome them.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to complete an online business assessment to help identify strengths and weaknesses in their businesses. The assessment is followed up by an optional one-on-one debrief with the workshop presenters to discuss future actions.

In addition, there will be an opportunity for select business owners who wish to grow to join exclusive “peer forums,” connecting them existing resource providers.

The “Journey to Your Vision” seminar is open to business owners and entrepreneurs statewide. For more information, visit or call 800-254-9670. Registration deadline is March 7.

Since 2007, Renew Rural Iowa has hosted 35 educational seminars attracting more than 2,500 participants.

In addition, 10 Iowa businesses have received financial assistance through the $35 million Rural Vitality Fund offered through the Iowa Farm Bureau in partnership with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, CIPCO and the Iowa Agriculture Finance Authority.

Renew Rural Iowa has also presented more than 65 “Entrepreneur of the Month” awards to outstanding Iowa businesses that benefit their communities.