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Palo Alto County Economic Development Benefits From Palo Alto Gaming Award

By Staff | Apr 8, 2008

Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation (PACEDC) was very excited and encouraged at the Palo Alto Gaming Awards Ceremony on Saturday, March 1.

At this event PACEDC was award two separate funds. The first award was for the seed money towards establishing a Palo Alto County Revolving Loan Fund for $75,000. Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation (PACEDC) plans to establish a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) for Small Business Development. The RLF provides a source of financing, which may not otherwise be available within the county, for local, expanding, or start-up businesses.

USDA Rural Development requires a minimum of $100,000.00 when applying for a county Revolving Loan Fund. Upon approval of the application, USDA will then award Palo Alto County $99,000.00. Palo Alto County will then have $199,000.00 available for small business development loans. PACEDC is presently working on obtain the cash match needed to make the May 1 USDA Application deadline.

The purpose of establishing a RLF is to assist borrower requests for “gap” financing. This type of financing fills the void between the total cost of the project and the total amount of funds the borrower has available from other sources such as owner’s cash, commercial bank loans, and government funding.

The RLF is not the primary source of project financing. The combination of private and public financing yields an overall lower cost of money for the borrower and lessens the risk for the primary lender (by decreasing their exposure). The RLF Commission will identify a set of criteria necessary for program design, determine accessibility to the program, create an operational (administrative) plan and implement the RLF plan. A Palo Alto Revolving Loan Commission under the approval of the PACEDC Board of Directors will manage this RLF.

What will a RLF do to enhance the county and potential projects?

• The RLF enhances the “tool chest” of PACEDC. Incentives such as fixed rate, low interest, and/or long-term financing are important to a business wanting to locate or expand within the local region.

• Encourage new start-up business growth within Palo Alto County. This is a self-perpetuating fund for small business development

• The Revolving Loan Fund can also work with state and federal grants to help business and industry.

• Provide that GAP financing that will allow projects to move ahead and be funded.

• When the loan is repaid, it replenishes the fund to support other projects.

Marketing

Palo Alto County

The second exciting award that evening was for $56,250 for Palo Alto Marketing Efforts.

Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation (PACEDC) has encouraged all nine communities to strategically look at developing tools to assist their local economy and economic opportunities. Some of these tools include developing a Sell Kit, Website, semi-annual Newsletters, Industrial GIS Maps, and an annual Business Survey.

Each concept will require professional consulting, layout and printing.

The fundamental goal of PACEDC is to attract, retain and grow business and industry in Palo Alto County. The Sell Kit, Business Survey, Newsletters, GIS Maps and Website will all play a vital role by acting as our main marketing tools in expanding our business climate. Currently many other counties in Iowa are already utilizing a sell kit to advertise and attract potential business opportunities. The Sell Kit will take approximately two years to develop but PACEDC would like to start the process by collecting the data necessary, dependent upon the funding available. The Sell Kit will consist of inserts that will give an overview of each section of Palo Alto County. It will feature photos and text. Insert topics will consist of: Transportation, Education, Business Climate, Health Care, Arts & Attractions, Workforce, Business and Industry, Recreation and Community Living. Aside from the sell kit folder and inserts, we are also planning to produce a tri-fold brochure, which will contain a brief summary of the sell kit information. The brochure will also be used as handouts across the county and state, or as mailings to targeted businesses. We will also produce a postcard, which will be sent with a personalized message as a follow up to business contacts from trade shows, business expos and other meetings.

The website is another marketing tool that will show a comprehensive overview of Palo Alto County. It will advertise such areas as communities, events, attractions, tourism, business climate, Location One Information Source (LOIS) information, and job opportunities. Web presence will allow us to feature recent news and highlights around the county as soon as they happen, keeping information fresh and exciting.

The Palo Alto County Business Survey will be conducted annually. A booklet is created which is an overview of information that is collected from area businesses surveyed in Palo Alto County. Businesses that complete the Business Survey range from Agriculture, Transportation, Education, Financial, Insurance, Retail Trade, Construction, Manufacturing, and Health Care. The information obtained from the Business Survey questionnaire is an intricate part of Business Retention and Expansion for Palo Alto County. The Survey helps to identify where multiple business locations are, projected expansions, business growth, modernizing business operations, employment and marketing trends. This information will assist Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation with Business Call Visits and overall business retention in Palo Alto County.

The PACEDC Newsletters, Annual Calendar of Events and Visitor Guide are also great marketing tools for the entire county. The goal will be to extend the stay of visitors by providing them with appropriate information regarding their interests in experiencing Palo Alto County.

The Website, Sell Kit, Business Survey, Newsletters and Visitor Guide will all work together as we strive to market Palo Alto County more aggressively.

Palo Alto County will need to become more competitive in order to retain and grow a successful business environment and we would like to accomplish this with our marketing initiatives.

Maureen Elbert, Ex. Director of Palo Alto EDC, “The evening event was a great forecast for allowing all communities and county to create their overall plan, and from there start to implement their plan, based on priority and funding availability. The PACGDC Commission had a great challenge of reviewing all of the applications and from their award funding dollars according to the viability of the applications. PACEDC appreciates their assistance in placing dollars toward the opportunity to solidify and build a solid economic development organization and provide us some significant dollars to start paving the way.”