116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — One of the challenges Iowa long has had in luring new businesses — as well as new workers and residents — to the state from elsewhere in the nation, Debi Durham said, is that “we have not been properly introduced.”
Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority as well as the Finance Authority, touted the state’s “This Is Iowa” campaign — its tagline is “A Secret Worth Sharing” — as one of a number of initiatives the state uses to promote economic development.
“This Is Iowa’s” website includes a link to the IEDA site along with information on visiting and moving to Iowa.
Durham was one of eight speakers and presenters during the 2022 annual meeting for the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative, or NewBoCo, Tuesday afternoon at the Olympic South Side Theater in Cedar Rapids’ NewBo District.
Speaking to how the state and IEDA “lean in” to help businesses, she touted the “continuum of funding” available, from proof of commercial relevance, through receiving demonstration funding and other, later assistance, and on to possible expansion aid.
Durham mentioned, as one example, the impending distribution of some $96 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury announced last month, through the State Small Business Credit Initiative, that will be made available for start-ups and small and veteran-owned businesses.
The economic development director also emphasized the “tremendous potential” for developing the bioscience industry in Iowa, citing its cluster of Ingredion, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Diamond V and other big corporations already in those sectors.
“Iowa should own this space,” she said.
Durham told The Gazette after the NewBoCo meeting that she’d never seen “this bio space ... so energized.” The state is looking at a “$7 billion portfolio of prospects,“ she added.
“Companies need to source this green energy.”
And she’s always up to talk to companies about the positives of doing business Iowa.
“I give my cellphone number to everyone,” she said.
Other presenters who took the stage during the meeting were:
- Coe College President David Hayes, talking about innovation
- Lynn Allendorf, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center director, promoting NewBoCo’s annual Entrefest conference
- Rochelle Claude Kotar, UFG Insurance senior I.T. manager, on the DeltaV code school
- NewBoCo’s K-12 Education Director Samantha Dahlby and Capital Access Manager for its Kiva Iowa loan program Kaitlin Byers gave updates on their programs
- NewBoCo Community Engagement Manager Anthony Betters Jr. announced a new partnership with Council Bluffs. Mount Pleasant has been a community partner since this summer, NewBoCo Chief Operating Officer Jill Wilkins said.
- Cedar Raids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell also took to the stage to thank the organization for its work through its many programs.
NewBoCo, a not-for-profit, was established in 2014.
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