Briar Cliff's Enactus team (pictured preparing for an event last year), was the group that created Entrepalooza — now a city-wide event that celebrates local entrepreneurial spirit in Siouxland.
SIOUX CITY — Historically, Sioux City has had a low rate of business starts, something the 20 local sponsors behind Entrepalooza want to improve upon.
One sponsor is Briar Cliff University’s Entrepreneurial Action in Us, or Enactus team, which professor of business administration Judy Thompson advises. Thompson also is one of the original forces behind Entrepalooza, a seven-year-old event that celebrates local entrepreneurs.
We wanted to encourage entrepreneurship in Sioux City ...
—Judy Thompson, professor of business administration
“We wanted to encourage entrepreneurship in Sioux City,” Thompson said of the event's origins.
The latest edition of Entrepalooza kicks off Monday and comes to a close March 3. There are activities or events scheduled for each day of Entrepalooza, some of which offer financial incentives to small business owners.
Swimming with the Sharks is a competition where local entrepreneurs are allowed five minutes to make a pitch to a panel of judges with area ties for an opportunity to receive a $4,000 grant. It starts at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 23, at St. Francis Center on the Briar Cliff campus.
Some Swimming with the Sharks success stories include Chatterkick, a digital marketing firm located in downtown Sioux City, and Lienwaivers, another Sioux City company that simplifies the process of creating and tracking lien waivers through digital means.
Thompson said encouraging entrepreneurs to flourish is something that should be important to every community no matter the size.
“My personal philosophy is each city, each town, each county needs to have a balance of economic development,” she said. “I think what you find is that everyone is going for the big companies that provide 1,000 jobs or more and so it’s very competitive.
“Most businesses start small and if you start them small here, hopefully they grow, develop some loyalty and stay here,” she continued. “It kind of balances out the economic development portfolios.”