Gift helps jump-start a local business

The success of small businesses is critical to the economic prosperity of not only our region and state, but to the whole nation.

Turning an innovative entrepreneurial idea into a thriving enterprise can be a challenging undertaking. Not having the financing to get started often halts or delays the launch of a new business.

With that in mind, Paresh Bhatt, owner and general manager of Comfort Inn of Fort Dodge, donated the funding through his Gift from India Fund, administered by the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way, for the North Central Iowa Open For Business $10,000 challenge award. The goal of this project is to help turn worthy business concepts into realities.

Earlier this year applications for the initial award of this startup grant were sought. Lisa Shimkat and the staff at the North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center assisted with this process.

Wednesday, it was announced that Playdate, a proposed family recreation center featuring soft contained play structures, slides and imagination-inspiring play areas for children ages 6 months old to 12 years old, which will be owned and operated by Cody and Rose Davie, is the first recipient of this award.

The Messenger congratulates the winner. We look forward to this venture becoming a successful part of the local economic landscape.

Bhatt knows firsthand the importance of a hand up in making a new business prosper.

“I have always felt blessed,” Bhatt, who came to the United States from his native Gujarat, India, in 1990, told The Messenger earlier this year. “I come from a middle-class background. Many times people have great ideas or they want to work hard to achieve their goals but lack funding. I have been there.”

Bhatt has become a highly respected part of the business community in his adopted nation and hometown. His commitment to helping others follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps is an inspiring example for others. This newspaper is proud to have Bhatt as part of the community it serves.