Economic Development

US Economic Development Grant For Eastman Business Park in Rochester, NY

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded a $610,000 grant to support the launch of a program to assist innovative energy companies at the Eastman Business Park (EBP) in Rochester, NY.

IMMSI at Eastman Business Park, Rochester, NY

IMMSI at Eastman Business Park, Rochester, NY (photo –

The EDA investment, matched by private funding, goes to a $1.2 million program administered by the Innovation, Manufacturing and Materials Science Institute (IMMSI) at EBP to help current and prospective tenants in the park accelerate commercialization of their technology.

EBP secured the federal grant with assistance and support from Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who brought an EDA representative down to New York for a tour of the park earlier this year in May. Rep. Slaughter also facilitated calls between the park and the EDA, and submitted a letter supporting EBP’s grant application.

In a release announcing the EDA grant, Rep. Slaughter said that Eastman Business Park is one of the region’s greatest economic assets and is already becoming a magnet for new high-tech energy companies and the jobs that come with those businesses.

Eastman Business Park Marketing Director Kelly Mandarano said in the release that they appreciate the efforts of Congresswoman Slaughter. Mandarano added that federal funding for this program can help them leverage the park’s unique manufacturing infrastructure and skilled workforce to support the growth of innovative energy companies and attract new businesses to the region.

Eastman Business Park (formerly Kodak Park) is a 1,200-acre technology center and industrial complex in Rochester, NY.

The park’s suite of test, validation, prototyping, and pilot manufacturing tools are designed to accelerate innovation out of the lab to high volume manufacturing, especially in the energy storage sector.

EBP has also received more than $90 million in NY State funding for infrastructure development, establishing public-private partnerships and attracting new companies to the park. Some of these initiatives supported by the State at EBP include the EBP Bioscience Manufacturing Center, and the Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Test and Commercialization Center.

Some parts of the park (Buildings 59 and 320) also qualify for the University of Rochester STARTUP-NY Plan where new and expanding businesses can operate tax-free for ten years.

As a result of all the available infrastructure and state and federal support and funding, EBP now has around 50 companies with about 6,500 employees, most of which are non-Kodak jobs.

Montana Awards Planning Grants For Seven Economic Development Projects

Montana has awarded planning grants to seven innovative projects that support key objectives of the Governor’s economic development plan called the Main Street Montana Project.

Montana BSTF grants

Montana BSTF grants (photo –

In a release announcing the grants, Governor Steve Bullock said that through these grants, they’re able to help Montana business owners and communities strategically plan for future business success and continued economic growth.

The $128,026 in grants is being provided through the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF).

These grants are not provided directly to the projects. Instead, the BSTF grants are awarded to local CRDCs (certified regional development corporations), tribal governments and local economic development agencies to assist these organizations in supporting planning projects.

The projects in question include everything from a feasibility study for a beef-based energy snack bar to market research for a micro-malthouse and the design for a new welcome center at Yellowstone National Park.

Bozeman, MT-based Prospera Business Network is getting two BSTF grants, one for $5,000 and another one for $15,750.

The $5,000 grant will help them in assisting Montana Maltings with a market research report. The other $15,750 grant will help Prospera assist the Greater Gardiner Chamber of Commerce develop a conceptual design for a new welcome center for Yellowstone National Park.

The Bitterroot Economic Development District, Inc. in Missoula is likewise getting two BSTF grants of $15,750 and $26,250.

The $15,750 grant will be used to assist Omnivore, Inc. complete a feasibility study. The company is trying to determine how to expand production of their Omnibar beef-based energy snack bar. The second grant of $26,250 will be used to help Consumer Direct Grant Creek Campus, LLC’s design development of a new facility for their health solutions business.

The Butte, MT-based Headwaters Resources, Conservation and Development Area, Inc., has been awarded two BSTF grants of $17,615 and $23,511.

The first grant of $17,615 will be used to support a historic building restoration project undertaken by Electric Light Building, LLC in Anaconda, MT. The second $23,511 grant will be used to assist Butte-Silver Bow’s feasibility study to determine the costs of redesigning a building to match the needs of Highlands College.

The seventh grant of $24,150 was awarded to the Libby, MT-based Kootenai River Development Council, Inc. The funds will be used by them to support a rail Preliminary Engineering Report for the Lincoln County Port Authority -Kootenai Industrial Park.

Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg O’Leary said in the release that these funding programs are proven Montana economic development tools that expand the state’s economy.

O’Leary added that all of these grant dollars go towards helping Montana communities and businesses invest wisely in their main streets and provide good-paying jobs for Montanans.

South Dakota Economic Development Office Fires Back After Chicago Airport Ad Rejection

The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is firing back at Chicago officials after being told to take down business recruitment advertising messages at Chicago O’Hare Airport.

The whole thing started in August when GOED launched the next phase of a South Dakota economic development and branding campaign in the Chicago and Minneapolis markets.

As part of the “Where Big Things Happen” campaign, GOED bought space on three large tension fabric banners right outside a security area at O’Hare.

The initial messages on the banners were a play on TSA checkpoint hassles – ‘No Government Pat Downs,’ ‘Keep Your Change in Your Pockets’ and ‘We’re Hands Off When it Comes to Business.’

Chicago airport authorities asked GOED to submit new messaging that did not conflict with TSA regulations. GOED complied and provided new messages.  Two of them were ‘Our Economy is First Class’ and ‘Prepare Your Business For Take Off.’

It’s the third message about ‘keeping your profits’ that was still causing a problem. After that, GOED was told by their airport ad representative that Chicago city officials were no longer allowing South Dakota or any other state’s economic development or tourism entity to advertise at the airport.

According to a release issued by GOED, the ban was later revoked but the three messages had to be replaced again. GOED submitted three more new messages, which have now been approved by the City of Chicago and will go up on the banners early next year.

The new messages will read – ‘Our Economy is First Class,’ ‘Prepare Your Business For Take Off’ and ‘Build Your Business in South Dakota.’

South Dakota also put this experience doing business in Chicago to good use by taking out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune that shows the ‘keep your profits’ ad that was rejected, along with some of the back-story behind the ad.

In a release explaining the newspaper ad, Gov. Dennis Daugaard says that “They thought ‘Keep The Change in Your Pockets’ was too aggressive so we resubmitted the ad with the message ‘Keep Your Profits.’ When we were told our ‘Keep Your Profits’ banner was not acceptable, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to showcase exactly why companies should move or expand to South Dakota.”

“We want companies to know that doing business is easy in South Dakota. Our experience in Chicago has made us realize just how important that is,” added Gov. Daugaard.

Virginia Community Business Launch to Support Small Business Development

Governor Terry McAuliffe unveiled a pilot program called the Virginia Community Business Launch (CBL) that will support community-based small business development.

Virginia CBL

Virginia CBL (photo –

As part of the launch, Gov. McAuliffe announced $100,000 each for small business development under CBL for the first three communities – the cities of Staunton and Hopewell and Gloucester Courthouse in Gloucester County.

The Governor said in a release announcing the pilot program that small business development is critical for building a new Virginia economy.

“Through this new initiative, we are placing the community at the center of small business development in order to help Virginia entrepreneurs thrive and contribute to our state economy starting in their own backyards,” added Gov. McAuliffe.

The Virginia CBL program takes a community’s own vision for its future and pairs it up with a local business competition to find and foster entrepreneurs that can connect with that vision.

Multiple entrepreneurs will be provided with the tools they need to prepare for operating successful businesses in downtowns or neighborhood commercial districts. CBL will also help them compete for funding to start new businesses.

The initiative is a part of Governor McAuliffe’s new Virginia economy Strategic Plan, spanning across the pillars of economic development, small business development and entrepreneurship.

You can keep track of updates and news about the Virginia CBL initiative here.

The Governor also announced a business plan competition for Virginia in 2015 with $1 million in prizes for the winners. The competition, which will focus on strategic growth sectors including agriculture, energy, social entrepreneurism, cybersecurity and bio-life sciences, will begin in the spring and the winners will be announced in early summer.

The competition finalists will be paired with mentors who will help them prepare for in-person pitches to a panel of judges. The mentors will continue to help the winners with access to venture funding, business strategy and other resources.

The winners must be willing to relocate their business to Virginia for at least 24 months, or use intellectual property from universities or research labs in Virginia.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones said a release announcing the business plan competition that entrepreneurism is a key Virginia economic development strategy. Sec. Jones added that entrepreneurs create jobs, they generate wages for residents, and they help communities grow, prosper and raise children.

“It is important for us to be the best place in the country for people to both own and operate a business and to launch one,” said Sec. Jones.

AEE Survey – California Has Largest Advanced Energy Industry in US With 431,800 Jobs

A new survey released by the Advanced Energy Economy Institute shows that California’s advanced energy industry, with 431,800 jobs, is the largest in the United States.

AEE CA advanced energy survey

AEE CA advanced energy survey (photo –

The survey of more than 2,000 businesses was conducted for the AEE Institute by workforce and economic development research firm BW Research Partnership.

Highlights from the AEE advanced energy industry employment survey:-

– California has 43,700 businesses serving advanced energy markets;

– With 431,800 jobs, advanced energy in California is now bigger than the motion picture and television, semiconductors and aerospace industries. The industry’s employment has grown five percent over 2013, a growth rate that’s more than double California’s overall job growth rate and thrice the national job growth rate;

– Advanced energy industry job growth, based on hiring plans cited by survey respondents, is projected to increase by 70,000 (17 percent) in the coming year, taking the number of advanced energy jobs in California to over half a million;

– Building energy efficiency is the largest segment of the advanced energy industry, with more than 300,000 Californians employed making homes, businesses and buildings more energy efficient;

– Electricity generation (wind and solar power, advanced grid technologies, storage, electric vehicles, etc.) technologies are another major component of the industry. The solar industry in particular is showing strong growth with more than 73,000 people employed in California;

– Vermont has the highest concentration of advanced energy workers as a percentage (4.3 percent) of the overall workforce. California is tied for second place with Massachusetts at 2.4 percent;

AEE CEO Graham Richard said in a release announcing the survey results that advanced energy companies are not only making California’s energy system better and cleaner, but also creating jobs and contributing towards the state’s economic prosperity.

Kish Rajan, director of Go-Biz, the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, said in the release that “The AEE Institute’s report is further proof that California’s economy is thriving – not in spite of our climate change goals but because of them.”

California State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins added that making California more energy efficient saves money for businesses and households and protects the environment, and is also an important contributor to jobs and the economy – truly a win-win for the state of California.

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon said that this survey demonstrates that policy supporting advanced energy is not just good for California’s environment but is also good for jobs and the economy.

Read the full AEE California Advanced Energy Employment Survey – Download (pdf; free registration required)

NYC Economic Development Corp Investing $3.5M in Brooklyn Fashion Incubator

New York City is investing $3.5 million into a fashion incubator at the Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Manufacture New York

Manufacture New York (photo –

The investment by the NYC Economic Development Corp enables the Manufacture New York incubator to be expanded into a full-fledged “Manufacturing Innovation Center for Apparel, Textiles and Wearable Tech.”

The announcement is being made by New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball, accompanied by Manufacture New York CEO Bob Bland and Salmar Properties Co-Founder Marvin Schein.

Manufacture New York is a hybrid fashion incubator and factory space for independent designers in the NYC fashion industry. They just moved the incubator from Manhattan’s Garment District to the new Brooklyn location in Liberty View Industrial Plaza.

The navy building (formerly Federal Building #2) was sold by the U.S. GSA to the NYCEDC, which then picked Salmar Properties to redevelop the 1.1 million-square-foot empty warehouse into an eight-story modern industrial center.

The Manufacturing Innovation Center for the fashion industry in the building’s fifth floor is offering leasable manufacturing space between 1,500 to 25,000 square feet for a wide range of fashion, textile and apparel manufacturers and suppliers.

The space will include an on-site R&D center that will support development of innovative wearable technology. The complex includes plans for everything from automated freight shipping and receiving facilities to a food court, informal meeting space, day care, gym, on-site parking and bike facilities.

The factory floor was built as a green design that lives up to LEED Commercial Interiors Gold Certification standards, and the building shell is also LEED Silver eligible.

More importantly, the Manufacturing Innovation Center’s tenants will be provided assistance in securing NYC economic development incentives. Manufacture New York, Salmar Properties and the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) will help tenants access various incentive programs available for manufacturers and tenants in the development.

This includes relocation tax credits (REAP and IBZ), low-cost electricity under the City’s Energy Cost Savings Program (ECSP) and Con Edison’s Business Incentive Rate (BIR) Program, and property tax abatements under the ICAP program.

The project has also been granted a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with New York City. The tenant attraction package that Manufacture New York is offering therefore includes the possibility to negotiate significantly reduced real estate tax liability.

Fashion is a $98 billion industry in New York City that provides employment to more than 180,000 people, generating $10.9 billion in wages and nearly $2 billion in annual tax revenue.

Find out more about the Brooklyn Fashion Manufacturing Innovation Center at

Strong Cities, Strong Communities Las Vegas Economic Development Challenge Winners

The Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Las Vegas economic development challenge has advanced to phase two following a vote by the Las Vegas City Council.

SC2 Las Vegas competition

SC2 Las Vegas competition (photo –

The Vegas SC2 competition, funded through a $1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, calls for teams to submit economic development plans matching the city’s needs and win a total of $900,000 in cash prizes.

Vegas is one of three cities awarded a $1 million grant in 2012 by the EDA to run the Strong Cities, Strong Communities competition. The other two are Greensboro, NC and Hartford, CT.

The Vegas SC2 competition attracted expressions of interest from teams in 49 states and 48 countries. Out of all the initial applications, the City picked 17 teams to compete in phase one. Only two of the selected teams were from out-of-state, and most were comprised of local development, business and architectural firms. UNLV faculty members were part of three teams, and UNLV collaboration was part of the plans submitted by four other teams.

Half of the submitted proposals outlined plans for the Cashman Center, two proposed ideas for business parks, and six focused on projects within the city’s Redevelopment area.

Ten teams out of the 17 will move on to phase two of the competition and a chance to win $800,000 in cash prizes. The City Council awarded $100,000 in phase one cash prizes to the top three proposals picked by an evaluation panel comprised of community leaders.

The first prize of $60,000 went to a team whose plan “Build a Vibrant Las Vegas” proposes the creation of an unmanned aerial and robotics resource center at Cashman Center. The second place prize of $30,000 went to architecture and design firm Gensler, which came up with a proposal to develop Cashman Center as a geographic center for sustainability that will attract and establish sustainable businesses.

The third place prize of $10,000 was awarded to a team comprised of local architect Eric Strain and community developer Arnold Stalk, who suggested a plan to develop a mixed-use Mid-Strip/Main Street project.

These three teams, and seven others, will now advance to phase two of the Vegas SC2 competition. Each team will have to develop comprehensive economic development plans for their proposals with a feasible roadmap for implementation.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman said in a release announcing the winners that they are very impressed with some of the innovative ideas in the phase one submissions. The Mayor added that they look forward to seeing these winning ideas developed even further during phase two of the competition.

Find out more about the Las Vegas competition at

Local Foods, Local Places Supports 26 Community Economic Development Projects in 19 States

Six federal agencies have teamed up to pick 26 communities across 19 states as participants in the Local Foods, Local Places initiative.

Local Foods, Local Places

Local Foods, Local Places (photo –

The chosen communities will receive direct technical support and expertise for integrating local food systems into community economic development plans.

Teams of federal experts from the USDA, DOT, EPA, DRA, ARC and CDC will work directly with each community to develop specific local food projects.

In a release announcing the selection of the communities, USDA Deputy Under Secretary Doug O’Brien said that the Local Foods, Local Places initiative illustrates that communities are thinking about creative ways to integrate local food into their community economic development plans.

O’Brien added that the projects developed under the program will revitalize rural Main Streets and urban downtown areas, and create market opportunities for food producers and entrepreneurs.

For example, the federal agencies will provide technical assistance to the Churchill Economic Development Authority in Fallon, NV to develop a local food hub in an abandoned grocery store in the historic downtown in Fallon.

Wheeling, WV is receiving technical assistance to help them develop a historic but underused ceremonial vineyard into a productive space for showcasing local products. Canton, NY is getting technical assistance to build a robust and environmentally sound local food system that will help downtown revitalization efforts.

Clarksdale, MS is getting technical assistance to develop a job training program based on community gardens and vegetable farming that will supply food for a farmers market and cafe. Lafayette, LA is getting technical assistance to develop rural-urban partnerships with neighboring parishes to support a regional food alliance.

The Youth Policy Institute in Los Angeles, CA is getting technical assistance to create a community-supported agriculture program. This program will improve the health of low-income residents by providing improved access to local foods, help revitalize distressed neighborhoods, and boost economic opportunities for farmers and food producers in the region.

Here’s the full list of Local Foods, Local Places projects. These 26 communities were chosen out of 316 applications. The applicants were evaluated based on their commitment to USDA’s Seven Strategies for Economic Development and the Livability Principles of the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Local Foods, Local Places is an initiative of the White House Rural Council and the aforementioned six federal agencies, and jointly funded at $800,000.

In a blog post on the White House Rural Council blog, Doug McKalip, senior advisor for Rural Affairs at the White House Domestic Policy Council, said that the Local Foods, Local Places initiative is a model example of how federal experts and local leaders are working together to develop appropriate and effective approaches to community economic development.

Jacksonville, Florida Gets HOPE Through US Economic Development Administration Grant

Entrepreneurs and small business owners in Jacksonville, FL will be provided training and support through a new public-private economic development initiative being launched in the city.

Operation HOPE

Operation HOPE (photo –

The initiative by national nonprofit Operation HOPE is funded through a federal grant from the U.S. Economic development Administration.

The EDA grant of $2.5 million was provided to help Operation HOPE expand their HOPE Inside Small Business Empowerment Initiative to nine cities across the United States, including Jacksonville.

HOPE Inside is in turn a part of the organization’s Project 5117, an initiative that focuses on strengthening local economies by empowering people and youth earning less than $50,000 in a year.

Communities that are included in this program are provided neighborhood-based financial education services to help them manage their debt, help raise credit scores, and get homeownership counseling. The program also provides entrepreneurship training and support.

This last one is what Operation HOPE plans to start with in Jacksonville, offering neighborhood-based training and support to entrepreneurs and small businesses, including opportunities to access financing and improve credit worthiness, among other things.

Apart from teaching the basics of banking, borrowing and budgeting, the EDA funding will be used in Jacksonville and the other cities to offer small business workshops, 12-week entrepreneurial training programs, and individualized technical assistance.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said in a release announcing the launch of the initiative that they are excited to welcome Operation HOPE and its financial empowerment model to Jacksonville. The Mayor added that this new public-private partnership will build on their current efforts to promote entrepreneurship, job creation and neighborhood economic vitality.

For instance, the City has re-activated the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund that supports neighborhood entrepreneurs and small businesses. Another program called Business Builders connects entrepreneurs to services they need to help them succeed.

Another key program which the City is working on in partnership with the JAX Chamber is called JAX Bridges – it helps small companies be prepared to do business with large companies and government agencies.

Operation HOPE’s Project 5117 will build on the work already being done in Jacksonville by the Chamber under the JAX Bridges program to help improve credit scores and financial literacy.

Operation HOPE Founder and CEO John Hope Bryant said that working with partners like the City of Jacksonville, Project 5117 aims to provide a full range of tools, personal guidance, information and access for struggling small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Nevada Native Nations Lands Act to Spur Tribal Economic Development

Congress is moving towards approving the Nevada Native Nations Lands Act to spur tribal economic development for six northern Nevada tribes.

Farming in the Pyramid  Lake Indian Reservation,, NV

Farming in the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation,, NV (public domain photo –

The legislation (H.R. 2455 and S.2480) will allow for the transfer of nearly 45,000 acres of federal land into trust for six tribes.

This land held in trust for the tribes will allow them to build housing and create opportunities for economic development while preserving cultural heritage and traditions and existing rights-of-way.

H.R. 2455 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02). The companion bill in the Senate was introduced by Senator Harry Reid.

The House just approved an amended version of Congressman Amodei’s bill to bring it in line with the Senate version. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee has already cleared S.2480, and the passage of the House bill now makes it more likely that the bill will be taken up for consideration by the full Senate.

After the House passed the bill, U.S. Senator for Nevada Dean Heller issued a statement noting that the transfer of this land puts power back into the hands of the local tribes and their communities. “They are the ones best suited to make decisions on economic development and job creation,” said Sen. Heller.

The tribes that will benefit from this bill are the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians, the Shoshone Paiute Tribes of Duck Valley, the Summit Lake Paiute, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and the Ft. McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe.

In a statement issued at the time when the bill was introduced in the House, Congressman Amodei said that these are all cases where local control and economic self-determination are preferable to Washington-centric management by a federal agency.

Sen. Reid likewise said in a statement while introducing S.2480 in the Senate that land is the lifeblood of Native Americans and this bill provides space for housing, economic development, traditional uses and cultural protection.

Apart from the lands held in trust for these tribes, the bill also helps support Elko economic development by providing to Elko County 275 acres of federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The City of Elko will be using this land for developing a motocross park.

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