Job Creation

Qualified New Business Venture Certification Enables Wisconsin Food Startup to Attract Investments

Wisconsin food startup Omega Foods LLC has been certified by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation as a Qualified New Business Venture (QNBV).

Omega Foods

Omega Foods (photo – omegafoods.com)

Using innovative technologies, this Two Rivers, WI-based startup is creating its own brand of healthy functional foods enriched with high levels of Omega-3 (fish oil).

Their first product – a pasta sauce, is already on grocery shelves.

Omega Foods is also developing Omega-3 enriched peanut butter, cooking and salad oils, ice cream, and frozen yogurt, among other things. They are also about to launch their own line of pure Omega-3 liquid fish oil.

The QNBV designation makes it far easier for this innovative food startup to attract investors. This designation allows investors in the company to claim a 25 percent tax credit on the amount they invest.

Investments in Omega Foods are eligible to receive a total of $300,000 in tax credits. Fueled by these investments, the company’s plans to expand its product line are expected to create as many as 34 new jobs.

Omega Foods CEO Andy Konopacki said in a release that they have developed unique technology which enables them to load up mainstream, center-aisle food products typically found in any supermarket with 100-300 milligram per serving of EPA/DHA Omega-3 and still produce great-tasting premium foods without any fishy taste whatsoever.

The company has also been able to reduce the amount of Omega-6 in the oils used in processed foods. Too much Omega-6 is one of the things responsible for causing obesity and poor health.

The Qualified New Business Venture program helps Wisconsin startups and early-stage companies like Omega Foods secure new investment and accelerates their potential for job creation and growth in the state.

Early stage businesses that are developing innovative products, services or processes may seek QNBV certification from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Once certified, investments in these QNBVs by qualified venture capital funds, angel investors and angel investment networks are eligible to receive a tax credit equal to 25 percent of the amount of their equity investment.

QNBVs must be headquartered in Wisconsin and have fewer than 100 employees, of whom at least 51 percent are required to be based in the state.  The company must have been in operation for 10 consecutive years or less, and must not have already received aggregate private equity investments in cash of more than $10 million.

Furthermore, the company must offer significant potential for increasing jobs or capital investment in Wisconsin.

QNBVs may be approved to receive up to $8 million in cash equity investment that is eligible for receiving tax credits (of up to $2 million for investors). There is no limit on the amount of tax credits investors can claim through investments in separate and multiple businesses.

ESD Approves $12M Funding for New York Economic Development Projects

The Board of Directors of Empire State Development has approved $12 million in New York economic development incentives for nine projects across the state.

ESD

ESD (photo – empire.state.ny.us)

This $12 million in state funding will leverage more than $144 million in private and additional public funding. The nine projects being funded are directly creating at least 706 new jobs and helping retain more than 1,640 existing jobs.

One of these projects is a previously announced expansion undertaken by Bombardier Mass Transit Corporation, a division of Canadian public corporation Bombardier Inc. The ESD approved a grant of up to $2.5 million for Bombardier to support the company’s expansion of its train manufacturing and testing facilities in Clinton County, NY.

Among other things, Bombardier manufactures rail cars and public transportation equipment for the MTA. The company has 36,000 employees in the U.S. alone, spread across 37 facilities in 15 states. Worldwide, Bombardier has more than 70,000 employees.

This is one of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s priority projects, and the grant funding application was made through the Regional Council CFA process. As a result of the expansion, Bombardier was able to retain 288 jobs and has already fulfilled its commitment to create 100 new jobs.

Another previously announced project for which the ESD Board approved a grant of up to $5 million is an expansion by the Ford Motor Company at their Buffalo Stamping Plant in Western NY. This is one of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council’s projects to strengthen and support the region’s manufacturing industry.

The Ford expansion in Buffalo helps retain 640 jobs through to 2018, and keeps the stamping plant open and viable for future production growth. In 2012, Ford informed ESD that in order to keep the stamping plant open, a significant investment would have to be made to add new product lines.

In order to secure Ford’s large investment and in the process prevent the closure of the plant and loss of 640 jobs, ESD offered Ford a package of incentives totaling $7 million. This includes $5 million as a capital grant and another $2 million as tax credits under the Excelsior Jobs Program.

Yet another major project for which the ESD has now approved a $1 million grant is an expansion by an IT subsidiary of Xerox Corp. Xerox Commercial Solutions, LLC was looking for a location for a customer support call center, and went through an extensive site selection process involving sites in 10 states.

XCS finally chose Webster, NY after the ESD agreed to make their project cost-effective by providing a $1 million capital grant and tax credits under Excelsior Jobs Program. This is one of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Council’s projects and helps their plan to support the expansion of the business services, software and telecommunications cluster in the region.

As a result of this expansion in Webster, XCS committed to retaining 70 existing jobs and create 500 new jobs in the region. They have already created 545 new jobs.

The other projects for which funding was approved by the ESD Board are as follows:-

Bates Troy Inc. – (Southern Tier) – $380,000

Kolmar Laboratories – (Mid-Hudson) – $250,000

North Country Cultural Center of the Arts – (North Country) – $250,000

Rome Strip Steel – (Mohawk Valley) – $150,000

Munson Machinery Company – (Mohawk Valley) – $200,000

Town of Babylon DRF – (Long Island) – $2,000,000

Orlando, Florida Economic Development Incentives Secure Solodev Expansion

Web and mobile app developer Solodev announced an expansion of its headquarters operations in Orlando, Florida.

Solodev

Photo – solodev.com

The company will be investing $315,000 for construction and equipment, and expects to create 25 new tech jobs over the next three years. They already have ten employees in Florida.

Orlando secured the project with the help of close partnerships between the City, Orlando Economic Development Commission, Orange County, Enterprise Florida and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The 25 new jobs being created are tech jobs with an average annual wage of $68,000, which is 150 percent of the average wage in Orange County. The average value of benefits that will be available to employees filling these positions is $11,200.

Solodev is creating a fully integrated online marketing technology solution called OCOA that includes website and mobile app creation, CRM as well as marketing automation.

In order to be able to attract and retain qualified talent for its growth plans, Solodev was looking to expand in a major metropolitan area. They were considering a location in South Carolina, in addition to staying and expanding at their current headquarters in Downtown Orlando.

Solodev CEO Ray Gilley said in a release announcing the expansion that Orlando is home to a thriving community of talented computer programmers, web designers and digital strategists. “We are excited to provide opportunities for them on our team,” said Gilley.

Just Program LLC (dba Solodev) applied for state and local incentives in Florida adding up to $150,000 to support their expansion plans. These incentives are being provided under the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund program.

For its part, the Orlando City Council has approved a resolution supporting the Solodev expansion. The City will be providing $30,000 as a local match required under the QTI program, with the rest being provided by the State of Florida.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in the release that Downtown Orlando is a great location for tech companies like Solodev. The Mayor added that Downtown Orlando, with its talented labor force, high quality of life and business-friendly environment, has become an ideal place for dynamic startups to make their home, find success and expand.

Orlando Economic Development Commission President and CEO Rick Weddle said they are pleased that Solodev continues to grow in Orlando, and added that tech firms like Solodev are one of the reasons why Orlando has been named by Techie.com as a ‘most promising tech hub to watch.’

ClearEdge Wholesale Glass Announces Relocation to Baton Rouge, Louisiana

ClearEdge Wholesale Glass announced plans for relocating their manufacturing operations to Baton Rouge, in the process significantly expanding both their space and workforce.

Clearedge Glass

Clearedge Glass (photo – clearedgeglass.com)

ClearEdge Glass will invest $2.65 million for renovating a 41,000-square-foot facility in Baton Rouge, and expects to create 120 new jobs at the facility.

They currently have 20 employees at a 14,000-square-foot facility in New Orleans. All 20 employees will be retained, and all 20 have agreed to relocate to Baton Rouge along with the company.

Louisiana Economic Development further estimates that the project will support the creation of 113 indirect jobs, adding up to a total of over 230 new jobs in the Capital Region and surrounding parishes.

The project will also create approximately 20 construction jobs while the facility in Baton Rouge is being renovated and equipped.

Governor Bobby Jindal said in a statement that ClearEdge Wholesale Glass is a prime example of the growth and jobs creation being seen across Louisiana. The Governor added that as a result of the state’s top-ranked business climate, more and more Louisiana companies are outgrowing old facilities and expanding operations to grow their business and provide more jobs for people in Louisiana.

ClearEdge Glass, founded by Brian and Dana LaBorde in New Orleans in 2009, is still a family-owned business that has grown into a state-of-the-art glass fabrication operation that provides glass products to shops all over the South.

Brian LaBorde said in the release that Louisiana is their home state, and they are proud to continue their tradition of producing great products made in Louisiana by Louisianans.

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden added that ClearEdge Glass will be an asset to Baton Rouge. Holden said that this Louisiana-based business has seen the region’s merits and chose Baton Rouge as its first point of expansion.

Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp likewise said that BRAC is pleased to welcome ClearEdge Glass to the Baton Rouge area, and added that they are pleased to have worked with the company to grow jobs in the Capital Region.

BRAC is the leading Baton Rouge economic development organization dedicated to fostering a strong, growing economy in the nine-parish Baton Rouge area. Knapp noted that this expansion is a prime example of the region’s strength and attractiveness, especially in the manufacturing sector.

LED and ClearEdge have been engaged in discussions about this project since earlier this year in June. In order to secure the project, the company was offered workforce development support through LED FastStart. ClearEdge will also be eligible to apply for Louisiana economic development incentives under the Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Active International Decides to Retain Global HQ in Rockland County, NY

Global corporate trade company Active International announced plans for new investments to modernize their operations in Rockland County, NY, and retain their global headquarters in New York State.

Blue Hill Plaza, Rockland County, NY

Blue Hill Plaza, Rockland County, NY (photo – Mack-Cali Realty Corporation/Wikipedia)

Active International has more than 500 employees in offices around the world.

As an alternative to modernizing their existing facility at Blue Hill Plaza in Pearl River, NY, the company seriously considered relocating the operations and their global headquarters to a new location outside New York.

Their decision to stay on in Rockland County and modernize the Blue Hill facility therefore not only secures the economic impact of the company’s significant new investments, but also helps retain more than 315 existing jobs and the impact of a company that already occupies 100,000 square feet across four floors in Blue Hill Plaza.

The Blue Hill Plaza complex, ideally located 20 miles from midtown Manhattan, includes two office towers that together account for nearly 40 percent of the office space in the county. Even the office of the Rockland Economic Development Corporation is located at Two Blue Hill Plaza.

Active International has now renewed its lease through to 2029, thus ensuring the company’s long-term commitment to Blue Hill Plaza, Rockland County and New York State.

In a release issued by New York State’s lead economic development agency Empire State Development, Blue Hill Plaza Managing Member Tim Jones says that Active is their largest tenant at Blue Hill and a major employer in the county, so their commitment to 15 more years is obviously of tremendous importance.

Jones added that he thinks that the benefits the company brings to the region through their community involvement are equally important.

In order to secure this project, Active International has been offered a package of New York economic development incentives that includes a grant of up to $1 million.

This is a performance-based grant being provided though ESD, and is tied to the company’s commitment to retain more than 315 full-time jobs.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said they look forward to Active International’s continued success and appreciate their investment in the local economy.

Commissioner Adams added that the company’s decision to modernize their global headquarters in Rockland County and remain active in New York State is a clear demonstration of the significant progress that has been made to improve the state’s business climate under Governor’s Cuomo’s leadership.

Active International Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder Alan Elkin said they are pleased to have reached a progressive solution for their space needs that keeps them in Rockland County for the next 15 years.  Elkin added that they look forward to remaining an active member of the community.

Iowa Awards Economic Development Incentives for Four Projects Generating $157M Investment

The Iowa Economic Development Authority board has approved financial assistance and tax benefits for four projects that are generating more than $157 million in new capital investment.

Iowa economic development

Photo – iowaeconomicdevelopment.com)

The projects undertaken by the four companies are expected to create 156 new jobs and will help retain 89 existing jobs in Iowa.

One of the projects is a biotech facility in Keokuk, IA by VAMA, which develops highly targeted natural solutions for insect control that are safe for humans and other animals.

The company recently came up with a natural, non-toxic and bio-degradable solution to combat parasitic mites called Varroa that are attacking and decimating bee populations, and is now planning to establish a facility in Keokuk to make and sell this product.

VAMA, Inc. will be investing $408,000 into this project, and expects to create 45 jobs. The IEDA board has approved tax incentives for the project under the Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit program.

Another big project receiving state incentives is an expansion by Swiss Valley Farms Cooperative in Luana, IA. Swiss Valley Farms is a four-state cooperative owned by its 626 dairy producers. They are investing $20.6 million into the expansion project in Luana, and will be creating 10 new jobs and retain 89 existing jobs.

The Swiss Valley Farms project has been awarded $465,000 in direct financial assistance, as well as tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs Program.

Custom logistics solutions provider XTL, Inc. is likewise making a big capital investment of $62 million for acquiring a site in Council Bluffs, IA. The company is creating 50 new jobs, and has been awarded tax benefits under the HQJP program.

The biggest investment of the lot is being made by the Monsanto Company, which is proposing a $73.9 million capital investment for expanding and improving operations at its crop plant in Muscatine, IA. The company expects to create 51 new jobs, and has been awarded tax incentives through the High Quality Jobs Program.

Apart from these four projects, the board of the Iowa Economic Development Authority also announced approval of innovation funding for a slew of startups.

West Des Moines-based DataYield is developing a cloud-based SaaS offering that allows agricultural support providers to effectively communicate with farmers who are their customers. DataYield is getting a $100,000 loan through the Iowa Demonstration Fund.

Terra Biologics, a St. Louis, MO-based startup that is relocating to Coralville, IA, has likewise been awarded a $100,000 loan to fund their research and development. Terra Biologics is in the process of commercializing a process to increase agricultural productivity with the help of micro-organisms called blue-green algae.

Clarksville, IA-based Crossroads Manufacturing, which has developed a solar-powered worksite monitoring tool, is getting a $25,000 grant from the Demonstration Fund.

Another Coralville-based company called InnoBioPharma, LLC was awarded a $100,000 loan from the Demonstration Fund, as was Batavia-based MyMedScore (dba Punctil Health). Iowa City-based software development company Mazira, LLC received a $25,000 grant.

Nevada Approves Economic Development Incentives for Switch and K2 Energy Expansions

At its latest meeting, the Board of Directors of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved incentives for three major projects.

Nevada GOED

Nevada GOED (photo – diversifynevada.com)

One of the projects is a $225 million investment in Clark County by Las Vegas-based tech solutions company Switch, Ltd., developer of the SUPERNAP data centers.

The investment will create a minimum of 34 new jobs and possibly up to 80 new jobs. There are already 5,000 jobs related to Switch data centers.

The company plans to continue adding to its line of data center ecosystems, and this latest investment will be used for building the SUPERNAP9A and SUPERNAP9B.

Including this latest expansion, Switch will have 1.3 million square feet of active data center space, along with 136,000 square feet of office space in Nevada. Apart from the hundreds of millions of dollars already invested by the company in the region, Switch is also participating in high-tech industry partnerships to boost regional economic development efforts.

Switch cited the investments already made in the region, along with the climate and favorable business environment, as factors for selecting Southern Nevada for yet another expansion.

Assisted by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), Switch Ltd. successfully applied for and secured a $20.7 million package of Nevada economic development incentives for the $225 million expansion project. The incentives will be provided in the form of tax abatements, including a sales and use tax abatement, Modified Business Tax abatement, and a real property tax abatement.

The LVGEA is a public-private economic development partnership serving Southern Nevada. Another major Clark County project assisted by the LVGEA that received GOED approval for a package of incentives was K2 Energy Solutions, Inc.

Henderson, NV-based K2 Energy Solutions, which was recently awarded an $81.4 million federal contract to supply batteries to the Navy, is undertaking a $32 million expansion of its operations in Henderson. This LVGEA-assisted project has also been approved to receive a $2.9 million package of tax incentives for this project.

Also formally approved during the GOED meeting was the $1.3 billion package of incentives for the Tesla Motors Gigafactory project in Storey County. This project was assisted by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. The EDAWN is a public-private economic development partnership serving the Greater Reno-Sparks-Tahoe region.

Kansas City Economic Development Corp Helps The Nerdery Add 100 Jobs

Following expansions in Chicago and Phoenix, tech firm The Nerdery announced that it has picked Kansas City, MO as its third major market for growth.

The Nerdery

The Nerdery (photo – nerdery.com)

The Minneapolis-based company opened an office in Kansas City in 2012, where it already has 33 employees.

Having outgrown the space, the company relocated their KC office last month to a larger and permanent location as the anchor tenant in the historic Western Union Building.

The Nerdery is making a capital investment of $4.3 million into the project, and will be spending millions more in wages for the 100 new jobs they plan to create over the next five years.

This expansion project was secured by the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, working in partnership with the City of Kansas City and a number of regional organizations and state agencies.

Mayor Sly James said in a release issued by The Nerdery that it is very satisfying to see that Kansas City’s talent, resource infrastructure and vibrant lifestyle continue to attract such high quality players in the innovation sector.

Pete Fullerton, CEO of the EDC, added that they had an amazing team come together that told the city’s story well and demonstrated the resources available to meet The Nerdery’s needs.

Apart from the Kansas City Economic Development Corp and the City, other partners who helped secure the project include the Kansas City Area Development Council (ADC), the Technology Council of Greater Kansas City (KCnext), Metropolitan Community College, the KC Downtown Council, KCP&L, and Missouri Gas Energy.

KC ADC President and CEO Bob Marcusse said they are proud of the regional partnership that made the case for The Nerdery to expand their KC office. Marcusse added that The Nerdery announcement is one more example that Kansas City is a hotspot for innovative companies that want to attract and retain top IT and tech talent.

State support for the project was provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Office of Governor Jay Nixon.

The Nerdery is getting nearly $2.3 million in Missouri economic development incentives for creating jobs, in addition to funding support for workforce training. These state incentives will be provided through the Missouri Works Program.

The Nerdery President Tom O’Neill said there is a lot of opportunity for them in Kansas City. O’Neill cited the support network and the great talent pool of potential ‘Nerds’ available to them.

Oxford Pharmaceuticals Selects Birmingham, Alabama for Manufacturing Facility

Oxford Pharmaceuticals LLC will establish a new manufacturing facility in the Jefferson Metropolitan Park at Lakeshore in Birmingham, AL.

Birmingham

Birmingham (photo – Robert S. Donovan/Flickr)

The Oxford, UK-based pharmaceutical startup company plans to invest $29.4 million to build the 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on a  24-acre site, and expects to create 61 new jobs when it opens in 2016.

By the time it is fully operational, the facility will have created 200 new jobs for Birmingham and Jefferson County.

The jobs announcement was made by Governor Robert Bentley during the Governor’s Luncheon hosted by the Birmingham Business Alliance. The BBA is a unifying voice and catalyst for economic development and business prosperity in the seven-county Birmingham region.

Oxford Pharmaceuticals Chairman John Hoffmire said in a release issued by the BBA that they chose Birmingham over other competing markets because of the region’s workforce, close ties to health care, and a recruiting effort involving a number of teams.

The Oxford project was a joint effort where the City of Birmingham and the BBA worked with the Jefferson County Economic Industrial Development Authority and Jefferson County Commission. State support was provided through AIDT and the Alabama Dept. of Commerce.

All put together, the company is set to receive nearly $5 million in State of Alabama, Jefferson County and City of Birmingham economic development incentives.

Oxford is also getting a ‘Soft Landing’ designation from Innovation Depot that will enable the company to receive free rent until its facility is operational. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is additionally providing life sciences and pharmaceutical consulting.

Innovation Depot is a business incubation facility that operates in partnership with UAB, focusing on providing support to emerging life science-biotechnology, information technology and service businesses.

Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell, Sr. said they welcome Oxford Pharmaceuticals to Birmingham. The Mayor labeled it as another big step for the City to show the world that Birmingham is a major player in the global economic development arena.

BBA Chairman Grayson Hall, who is the CEO of Regions Financial Corp, added that with partners at the state, county and city level and assets like UAB, Innovation Depot and the Southern Research Institute, they see Birmingham playing a global role in shaping the future of medicine and health care around the globe.

Palm Beach County, Florida Approves Economic Development Incentives for Project Osprey

The Board of County Commissioners of Palm Beach County, FL has cleared a resolution recommending approval of local economic development incentives for a large distribution center project.

Osprey

Osprey (photo – Gareth Rasberry/Wikipedia)

The distribution chain company, identified as yet in county documents only as ‘Project Osprey,’ is considering establishing a new 386,000-square-foot distribution center in Palm Beach County.

The facility will be their regional wholesale distribution center serving the entire Southeastern United States.

Project Osprey will make a capital investment of $93 million into the project, and expects to create 440 new and relocated jobs over the next five years.

These are jobs with an average annual wage of $48,813, not including benefits – that’s 115 percent of the average annual wage in the state.

The Palm Beach County Dept. of Economic Sustainability estimates that the project will generate a local economic impact of $236.5 million over five years.

In order to secure the project, the company is being offered a package of Florida and Palm Beach economic development incentives that add up to $1.68 million.

Specifically, Project Osprey has been identified by the State of Florida as a Targeted Industry eligible to apply for $930,000 in state incentives under the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund program. Under this program, the project has to receive a 20 percent ($186,000) match in the form of local incentives.

Citing the local economic impact of the large number of jobs being created and the significant capital investment the company is making, the Palm Beach Dept. of Economic Sustainability submitted a recommendation that the County Administration should go well beyond this $186,000 requirement.

The Board of County Commissioners has recommended approval of the suggested $750,000 in incentives for the project through an ad valorem tax exemption for a period of eight years.

Palm Beach County’s Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Program is designed to provide funding assistance to support businesses looking to relocate into the County or establish a new facility, and to help existing businesses with expansion projects that will create full-time jobs, increase the tax base and diversify and strengthen the local economy.

The State QTI tax incentives for Project Osprey are tied to the company fulfilling its $93 million capital investment and creating 310 new permanent jobs in Florida within five years.

Project Osprey’s real name will be made public only after it enters into a formal agreement with Palm Beach County under the terms mentioned above.

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