The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board approved an award for a manufacturer in Independence, which will assist in the creation of 229 jobs and result in nearly $15 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also approved innovation funding in support of two startups located in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. In addition, IEDA approved assistance from Iowa’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Innovation Fund for a startup in Des Moines.
Manufacturer to purchase existing facility in Independence
The newly formed Independence Foods LLC will manufacture a wide range of food products. The company plans to purchase an existing pet food facility in Independence and make upgrades to accommodate production capabilities and requirements. The project represents a capital investment of $14.8 million and is expected to create 229 jobs incented at a qualifying wage of $25.90 per hour. The board awarded $1.5 million in direct financial assistance through the High Quality Jobs (HQJ) program.
Awards made to two startups
Cedar Rapids’ FES Solutions, LLC developed a market-ready fire extinguisher stand for construction companies. Drawing on years of expertise in the construction industry, the company identified the need for a consistent product that was typically made with leftover project materials. The prototype has the potential to offer a more durable and lighter weight solution. The company was awarded a $50,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan for IP development and evaluation, market analysis, proof of concept work, and market planning and entry activities.
Ten5, Inc., based in Des Moines, created a communications platform for the trucking industry to improve driver safety and fleet productivity and lower driver and dispatcher turnover rates. The platform uses a driver voice application that allows the driver to communicate hands-free using voice input only. It also allows dispatchers and managers to prioritize driver messaging, which reduces the number of driving delays and distractions. The company was awarded a $50,000 POCR loan for product refinement, key personnel, and market planning and entry activities.
Award recommendations for these funds are made by the Technology Commercialization Committee to the IEDA Board for approval.
SSBCI awards startup in Des Moines
Hummingbirds, based in Des Moines, is an SaaS-enabled marketplace that helps brands find and work with local people to drive awareness and sales. Customers can create a campaign inside the software and their content creators (called “hummingbirds”) express interest in the campaign. Customers select interested hummingbirds and provide a complimentary perk to experience their brand and share about it on social media. The company was awarded a $250,000 Innovation Acceleration Launch Fund loan for key personnel.
The SSBCI program’s Innovation Fund increases assistance available through Iowa’s innovation continuum to support entrepreneurs through concept, launch and expansion. Award recommendations for these funds are made by the SSBCI Review Committee to the IEDA director for approval. The committee met on November 14, 2023, to review eligible applications.