In Honor of National Small Business Month, Gov. Reynolds Announces Community Contest to Showcase Support for Iowa’s Small Businesses

4 May 2023


Video contest gives communities a chance to win custom mural

May 4, 2023 (DES MOINES) – Gov. Kim Reynolds marked the start of National Small Business Month with the announcement of a chance for Iowa communities to showcase their support for small businesses through the third annual #IowansUnite Community contest. The winning community will be awarded a custom mural.

The contest invites cities, municipalities and economic development organizations to submit creative and inspirational videos showcasing how their community members support small businesses and celebrate the businesses’ importance to the community. Communities that submit a video have the chance to win a one-of-a-kind mural designed and installed by Iowa artist Ben Schuh that welcomes visitors to their shopping district or downtown area.

“Small businesses are not only important economic drivers, but they also serve as cultural pillars in our thriving communities,” Gov. Reynolds said. “This contest is an opportunity for communities to showcase their support for their small businesses by entering for a chance to win custom art for their downtown and I look forward to seeing the creative entries.”

To enter the contest, communities must create a short video and submit it through the official entry form found on the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Facebook page through June 23, 2023.

Creativity is encouraged, but all submissions must feature local residents and small businesses and must incorporate elements reflecting each community’s unique brand of hometown spirit. Examples include storefronts, main street districts, notable landmarks and people shopping or eating. Videos may be created by an individual or group representing the community, but the video must be submitted by the city, municipality or economic development organization.

Following an online voting period (June 26 through June 29), the communities whose videos meet the designated vote threshold for their community size will become finalists. Small communities, cities with a population of 15,000 or less, must have at least 500 votes. Large communities, cities with a population of 15,001 or more, must have at least 1,000 votes.

The finalists will receive an assignment to showcase their community spirit. An independent panel of judges will review and score all assignments submitted along with the video submitted with the official entry form. The community with the highest score will win the contest and a custom mural. IEDA and IFA officials will meet with designees from the winning community to facilitate the mural project. 

“Both small businesses and community art add life and vibrancy to our downtown districts and this contest provides the unique opportunity to celebrate the importance of both,” said Debi Durham, executive director of IEDA and IFA. “One community will win a custom mural that will serve as both a local tribute and a visitor attraction and I wish all entrants the best of luck in the competition.”    

The 2023 #IowansUnite contest is the third annual contest in conjunction with National Small Business Month. Previous winners include the communities of Knoxville and Washington, photos of their murals are available on IEDA’s Facebook page.

For more information about the #IowansUnite Community Contest, including official rules and the submission process, visit

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