UNI’s Business & Community Services Assists Iowa Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

UNI’s Business & Community Services Assists Iowa Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) called and UNI’s Business & Community Services (BCS) responded. On the morning of March 16, UNI’s Institute for Decision Making (IDM) was asked to help the State of Iowa gather information from Iowa businesses related to the likely impact of the COVID-19 crisis on them. 

Following that call, the programs within BCS mobilized to develop an online survey that would be distributed across the state. Strategic Marketing Services (SMS) took the lead in developing the survey instrument and setting up the survey online. IDM staff began drafting messaging materials that local economic developers and others could utilize to promote the survey to their area businesses and organizations. The Iowa Waste Reduction Center and Center for Business Growth and Innovation (CBGI) assisted with promoting the survey through their statewide connections with businesses, organizations and statewide associations.

Within 36 hours of being contacted, the Iowa COVID-19 Business Impact Survey was launched. Over the span of a week, nearly 14,000 Iowa businesses and organizations completed the survey. From the data, the IDM/SMS team produced a detailed report and executive summary and over 70 local reports for economic development 

BCS Survey

organizations, chambers of commerce, community colleges, rural electric cooperatives and for all of the state’s small business development centers.

Iowa was one of the first states to deploy a statewide survey. BCS and IEDA received inquiries from a considerable number of other states and BCS shared Iowa’s survey instrument with all of them. 

On March 24, IEDA Director Debi Durham praised BCS’ work. “The data collected has already assisted the Iowa Economic Development Authority to guide and direct precious resources through our Small Business Grant Relief program and will no doubt help us chart a path for recovery to the critical business that call our state home.” 

BCS is now assisting IEDA conduct a second statewide Iowa COVID-19 Business Impact Survey. To date, nearly 10,000 businesses and organizations have responded. The IDM/SMS team is continuing to provide IEDA with real-time analysis and will be providing them a detailed analysis of the data. The IDM/SMS team will also produce local reports to assist Iowa communities and regions.

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