Regional Entrepreneurship Center

Regional Entrepreneurship CenterThe Regional Entrepreneurship Center (REC) is a full service entrepreneurial training center and business incubator. It is located on the Indian Hills Community College North Campus, next to IowaWorks and Ottumwa Job Corps.

Our mission is to have a measurable, positive impact on economic growth in the ten-county, Indian Hills region by “incubating” start-up and early-stage companies, both in the REC and in community-based “centers.” This will be accomplished through small business and entrepreneurial training and education, mentoring, networking, and affordable facility and equipment support.

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Our Management Team

The REC is managed using a team approach. The team consists of the REC Director, Entrepreneurial Educator, and the Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

The Director of the facility and team leader is TJ Heller.   Mr. Heller has a BA degree in Finance-Real Estate from the University of Northern Iowa.  He is also the Director of Economic Advancement, Incubation, and Entrepreneurship at Indian Hills Community College and owns Heller Development Inc. (commercial real-estate development company).   Mr. Heller has over 18 years entrepreneurial experience in QSR Franchising and Commercial Real Estate.

Bryan Ziegler is the Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Indian Hills Community College. He earned an MBA from Western Illinois University, and he has nearly 30 years of experience serving as SBDC Director.


  • Indian Hills Community College
  • U.S. Economic Development Administration
  • Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation
  • Rotary Club of Ottumwa
  • Wapello County Board of Supervisors


REC BlueprintThe Regional Entrepreneurship Center is a 10,000 sq.ft., multi-purpose, business incubator. A wide variety of business types can benefit from the services and programming offered by the REC. Of the 10,000 sq.ft, approximately 7,000 sq.ft. is rentable space. The other 3,000 sq.ft. is used for a "common space" that includes a reception area, bathrooms, kitchen/break room, training room, and a conference room. There are three offices. However, more can be built, based on the needs of a specific client. The REC also includes ramped and recessed loading bays for companies that require equipment and product loading and shipping.


A variety of services are available through the REC for all start-up businesses in the IHCC region. Further, clients of the REC will have constant, direct access to the REC management team for business consultation and training. The REC provides assistance and services in a number of areas, including:

  • Business Basics
  • Networking Activities
  • Marketing
  • Financial Management
  • Legal Assistance
  • Identifying Potential Capital/Finance Sources
  • Connections to College/Corporate Partners
  • Business Training Programs
  • Mentoring/Coaching
  • Product Research and Development (R&D)

In addition to the above services, entrepreneurial training courses will be offered in the REC training room. These courses are available for all entrepreneurs throughout the IHCC region, and are located at the REC for client convenience. Depending on the specific needs of REC clients, training-course topics may include:

Conflict Resolution Recruiting Talent
Creativity Retaining Talent
Customer Service Sales
Employee Benefits Social Media
Entrepreneurial Leadership Strategic Planning
Market Research Succession Planning
Managing Employees Using Your Business Plan
Pricing Taxes
Purchasing Team Building
Quickbooks Time Management

Who should use the REC?

To see if you are a good candidate for the REC, just answer the following two questions:

Are you a start-up or early-stage enterprise (less than five-years-old) with a product or service that fits the mission of the REC? Yes/No

Is your enterprise currently located in the IHCC ten-county region, or do you plan to locate your enterprise within the IHCC ten-county region? Yes/No

If you can answer “yes” to both of these questions, we would like to speak with you about your business idea, and help you through the application process.

How to Apply

To apply to become a client at the REC, all you have to do is submit a completed Application Form and a business plan. The business plan is a document that describes all aspects of your business. It is a critical component of any successful business. If you already have a business plan developed, we ask that you meet with the SBDC Director and go over your business plan with him. If you do not have a business plan, the SBDC Director can help you develop one. For more details on the application process and selection criteria, please see the REC Policies and Procedures, available at the REC (see contact information below).

Other documents you may be interested in reviewing include the Client Handbook and the Mentoring Handbook. These documents are also available at the REC.

Contact Us

If you have questions, feel free to contact any member of the REC management team. We look forward to hearing from you, and helping you succeed in your new business venture.

Regional Entrepreneurship Center at Indian Hills Community College

15330 Truman St.
Ottumwa, IA 52501

TJ Heller, Director: Economic Advancement, Incubation, and Entrepreneurship
phone: (641) 683-5188

Bryan Ziegler
phone: (641) 683-5127

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