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Corridor Startup Gets Grant to Hire as Unemployment Drops

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Unemployment in Iowa dropped to 4.7 percent in May, putting the state well below the national average of 7.5 percent.

And it's easy to find the companies reaping the benefits of Iowa's relative economic strength.

Ben Anderson is one of those guys who was just born to be an entrepreneur. He's the founder of Bandwidth Pool, a website that lets businesses pick the provider with the lowest bid for their internet service.

"Bandwidth Pool is the eBay for business internet access," Anderson said.

On Friday, the state put its bid on Anderson. The Iowa Economic Development Authority gave him a $100,000 demonstration grant to prove that Bandwidth Pool has some staying power.

With some of that money, Anderson will hire up to five people to grow the business. Having the chance to help other people's growth, too, is something he's excited about.

"When you know that you can not only support someone financially, but help take care of their family, as well, through something as simple as health insurance? I guess it was meaningful to me," he said.

Anderson isn't the only employer looking to hire new employees. This is the fourth month in a row that jobs have grown in Iowa. RJ Hammel, branch manager at Robert Half International expects that growth to continue.

"You have a lot of entrepreneurial spirit in the area, which leads to job development," Hammel said.

The increased job creation leads to only more growth, a big benefit of being in Iowa right now, he said.

"And, ultimately, people just work hard," he said.

Anderson said he's excited to his hard work finally pay off.

"This is kind of our point of take off," he said.

Anderson credited the Iowa City Area Development Group with helping him find out about the demonstration grant at all. He said it's a great place for other entrepreneurs to find support.
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