Iowa governor touts economic development fund

Iowa governor touts economic development fund that gives grants to startup businesses

Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that a state economic development fund has invested millions of dollars to help boost dozens of technology startup firms in Iowa.

An economic impact study into the activities of the Demonstration Fund, which offers funding to help grow manufacturing, science and information technology firms, found that between 2007 and 2012 the fund provided about $13 million to 101 firms still in existence. The 79 firms that responded to surveys for the report said they had added about 600 jobs and grown revenue.

"These are impressive results," Branstad said. "Iowa must grow its own high-tech information companies to build an economy that can compete."

The fund is managed by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

According to the study, the economic activity was in a variety of sectors including medical device manufacturing, animal vaccines, food products manufacturing, computer system designs and software development.

Econsult Solutions, a Philadelphia-based private financial consulting company, conducted the study. The nonprofit Iowa Innovation Group commissioned the study, with input from the state, and paid $10,000 for the work. The Innovation Group works to grow business opportunities in Iowa.

Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham said she hopes to put another $2 million in the fund for the fiscal year that starts July 1. She said the Fund was part of a variety of incentives the state offers to help grow business in Iowa.

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