Economic Development

$50,506 increase 

The economic development funding provided by the General Assembly has been critical to providing valuable and impactful business and technical assistance to both startup and existing Iowa companies. It has also been instrumental to supporting the formation and growth of entrepreneurship educational activities which are essential for future innovation and economic growth. The translation of university discoveries and technologies has proven to be critical and a driving force for state-wide innovation and job creation. More importantly, it is necessary for the long-term growth of a sustainable, innovation economy that will position Iowa to be competitive in a global market. 

Last year, Iowa State University’s Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR) team provided business and technical assistance and training to more than 4,700 Iowa businesses, and helped more than 325 new businesses get started.  The outcomes reported by clients were almost 7,000 new and retained jobs and an approximately $550 million impact on the state economy in terms of increased sales, cost reduction or avoidance, and capital infusion.  Additionally, the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship reported more than 4,500 students participated in programs and classes focused on entrepreneurship, startups, and small business. 

Small Business Development Centers

The Iowa Small Business Development Centers’ (SBDC) purpose is to assist existing businesses and new entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and improve their internal operations to ensure their continued success. It achieves its purpose by providing educational opportunities through workshops, but primarily and most effectively, through one-on-one counseling. Such counseling is, by Congressional mandate, provided at no cost to the client.

Last year, the SBDC counseled 4,442 clients, which created 1,689 jobs; helped companies attract over $70.4 million in new capital; helped companies grow sales by more than $68.8 million; and helped to create 279 new businesses. This translates into four plus new jobs every day and a new business every 31 hours. Clients of SBDC increased their sales by $188,755 every day and raised over $8,000 in capital every hour.

Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) Technology Assistance Program

Last year, 1,561 businesses from 95 Iowa counties received assistance on projects or attended educational workshops from CIRAS’ staff and partners. Companies responding to surveys reported $424 million of total economic impact. The numbers include: $359 million in sales gained or retained; $52 million in new investments; $13 million in costs saved or avoided; and 5,400 jobs added or retained.

CIRAS Technology Assistance Program provided services to 58 distinct businesses. Companies responding to surveys reported $37.9 million of total economic impact from the technology services they received.

CIRAS has leveraged the Technology Assistance funds to increase the federal funding and fees it receives through its existing Department of Defense and Department of Commerce grants. New funds will be used to expand applied research, technical assistance, and education services provided to Iowa businesses.

Iowa State University Research Park

The ISU Research Park (ISU RP) is closely connected with the university, but operates independently to help tenants reach proprietary goals, and assist companies in a setting that encourages entrepreneurial ventures and working relationships with Iowa State students and researchers. More than 70 tenants who employ 1,700 employees call the Park home, occupying roughly 600,000 square feet. Current ISU RP tenants account for more than $100 million annually in economic activity. In addition, companies that started at ISU RP that have since expanded or relocated elsewhere in Iowa employ an additional 2,500. ISU RP is in the midst of a significant expansion, which will double the developable acreage and add commercial amenities such as a restaurant, fitness center, child care facility, parks, and walking/biking paths. The ISU RP will pave the way for the next generation of thought leaders and employees.