Listen to this month's "From the Desk" podcast.
We’ve reached the end of yet another year, and as 2015 draws to a close it’s a good time to reflect on some of the many notable activities that have benefited Iowa economically over the past year. From new business starts and community enhancements, to increased global awareness on the advantages of doing business in Iowa, we’ve had a pretty good run. Here’s just a few items from this year to consider:
• In 2015, over 1.3 billion dollars in financial assistance and tax benefits was awarded to Iowa businesses, which will help grow the state’s economic base. These businesses are located all across Iowa, in both rural and metro locations and range from new businesses opening their doors, businesses expanding, and businesses relocating to our state, the result of which will lead to the creation of over 4,200 new jobs.
• In addition, financial assistance was provided to 33 startup ventures in the areas of Advanced Manufacturing, Bioscience and IT, to help these innovative new companies explore product enhancement, new market identification and expansion – all geared towards accelerated growth and job creation.
• Several Main Street businesses were also awarded financial assistance through Main Street Iowa’s new program ‘Open 4 Business’. These grants will benefit business development and expansion projects for those participating communities.
• And speaking of communities,
o 14 towns throughout Iowa were awarded a total of almost $925,000 in Challenge Grants which will benefit local improvement projects. These projects represent the ongoing commitment the people of our state – both our elected officials and private citizens – have to the revitalization and historic preservation of our local communities. Rehabilitated buildings create opportunities for new businesses, and new businesses result in new jobs.
o Additionally, 57 communities across the state were awarded almost $22 million dollars in federal funding for infrastructure and housing development. As a result of these projects, thousands of Iowans will see infrastructure improvements, rehabilitated housing and other exciting enhancements in their towns.
o And six new communities achieved ‘development-ready’ site certification status, bringing the total number of certified sites up to 10 in Iowa. This increase in the availability of project-ready industrial sites will continue to improve Iowa’s competitive position. It could also be said that 2015 was a little bit ‘pie and the sky’, when the Iowa Tourism Office set out to find Iowa’s best slice of the year (it was cherry, and you can find it in Indianola). And when United Airlines featured a 24-page spread on Iowa’s business climate in their on-board Hemisphere’s magazine in April, reaching over 12 million passengers.
I could go on and on listing more great accomplishments that have taken place throughout the year that have kept businesses and communities moving forward. But as Iowa’s premier business service providers, I understand many of you were integrally involved in these achievements. Still, I feel we need to be reminded of those success from time to time. As Iowan’s, we tend to applaud others, but not necessarily give ourselves credit for the hard work that is done in the background that allows these events to come to fruition.
So as we ring in the New Year, I once again ask you to take a moment to reflect on all of those efforts you give on a daily basis, and I thank each of you for that hard work you do. Work that helps the businesses you serve to grow, and the communities you live in to thrive. Cheers to you for your continued determination keep Iowa a great place to do business, and here’s to a prosperous new year!