February 4, 2021 by Deb Calvert
Four community groups receive BEST of Iowa Excellence Award
February 1, 2021 (Des Moines, IA) – The Iowa Economic Development Authority, economic development partners and utilities announced existing business trends and key findings. Through the Business Expansion and Strategic Trends (BEST) of Iowa initiative, the group focused its efforts on opportunities to support growth and remove barriers as well as the unique challenges COVID-19 created for companies in Iowa. The report identifies solutions and policies that will help support a successful recovery for a sustainable future.
“Getting first-hand feedback from businesses across our state is critical to making sure we’re setting the stage for economic success,” said Drew Conrad, Director at the Institute for Decision Making, The University of Northern Iowa. “We realized early in 2020 that we needed to focus our efforts on the unique challenges of doing business in a pandemic. We hope that this information will help leaders pinpoint how to best support the hardworking people of Iowa.”
The 2020 BEST of Iowa key findings and conclusions identified trend information from interviews completed with 813 companies across 76 counties.
Approximately 20 percent of the companies who responded stated that they were experiencing financial stress, and nearly 55 percent stated that their supply chain had experienced negative distributions among their critical suppliers.
But despite these challenges, many companies are adapting and forging on. Only 5.3% of companies reported postponing or cancelling plans to expand while 297 companies have plans to expand, totaling $2.62 billion of capital investments and the creation of 3,941 new jobs.
The report included several calls to action for the group, including helping communities develop sites that meet the needs of growing companies, supporting research and development tax credits, growing and expanding technical training opportunities, and encouraging the expansion of broadband access, to name a few.
Best of Iowa also announced the 2020 BEST of Iowa Excellence Award recipients. The Awards went to the Albia Industrial Development Corporation, City of Ankeny, Buchanan County Economic Development and Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance for their work to support Iowa’s businesses.
“There’s no doubt that this has been a challenging year, but reports like this help us come alongside businesses – to know the specific issues they’re facing, and in true Iowa fashion, overcome the obstacles in our way,” said Deb Calvert, of MidAmerican Energy. “In a year that saw mandated closings, layoffs, remote learning and a devastating derecho, it was more important than ever to band together. We’re grateful for the local community groups who didn’t let anything get in their way to connect with companies.”