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The Iowa Business Council (IBC) was founded on December 12, 1985, when fifteen business leaders from across the state met in Des Moines to develop strategies for lifting Iowa out of the mire that was inhibiting economic growth at the time
Members include the top executives of most of the largest businesses in the state, the three Regent university presidents, and the president/CEO of Iowa's largest banking association. Collectively, IBC Members lead companies and institutions that employ nearly 250,000 people, affecting the careers and livelihoods of one in six Iowans. They have invested billions of dollars of capital in Iowa's commercial infrastructure; lead in technology innovation, R&D, and grants procured; and, are often the driving financial and volunteer force behind philanthropic efforts large and small all over the state.
Participation in the Iowa Business Council is by invitation only - to ensure the commitment of its Members to the vision and mission, provide geographic and industry diversity, and entertain a range of different business segment perspectives. The Council's representation reaches statewide, touching all 99 counties.
IBC focuses its efforts primarily in the areas of advanced technology, continuous process improvement, economic and workforce development, education excellence, and health and wellness.
Since its inception, the Iowa Business Council has evolved from primarily a research and advisory group for the state policymakers into a proactive advocacy organization asserting leadership roles on major business policy initiatives. While other organizations effectively focus on individual issues, the Council maintains a "big picture" perspective. For example, in 2001 IBC released a white paper entitles "A Case for Change," its seminal study of Iowa's economy that provided an objective evaluation of the business environment and assessed its vital signs. This was followed by "A Framework for Action" the following year, which focused on the economic issues and challenges identified and suggested courses of action to implement recommendations. In 2011, the "Competitiveness Blueprint: 2025" revisited the issues and challenges brought forth in the original 2001 study, and the Iowa Competitive Index was developed and released - what is now an annual assessment of the state's business environment in a "report card" format that tracks metrics in five critical issue areas, analyzes trends for policymakers, and distinguished positive or negative economic activity.