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BOARD ACTION: IEDA Board Approves Financial Assistance for Seven Companies

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Tina Hoffman, Iowa Economic Development Authority

Phone: 515.725.3150 or Cell: 515.783.8225


Iowa Economic Development Authority Board Approves Financial Assistance for Seven Companies

November 16, 2012 (DES MOINES, IA) - The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board today awarded financial assistance to seven companies for job creation, expansion and small business development projects. Today's awards will assist in the creation of 120 new jobs and will result in $36.5 million of new capital investment to the state.

“It has been a great month for economic development in Iowa,” said Governor Terry Branstad.  “With the $1.7 billion project earlier this month and now another seven job creation and innovation projects today, Iowa’s economy is heading in the right direction.”

IEDA director Debi Durham added, “it is rewarding to see our existing companies continuing to invest in our state and at the same time watch as new companies are growing from the ground up thanks to the innovation ecosystem we continue to nurture.”

The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Johnston, Diagonal, St. Ansgar, Fairfield, Estherville, Urbandale and Iowa City.

DuPont Pioneer announces $13 million capital investment in Johnston

DuPont Pioneer, founded in 1926 by Henry Wallace, is the world’s leading producer and supplier of advanced plant genetics to farmers worldwide.  The company was awarded tax benefits by the board for the construction of new office/lab space and greenhouse in Johnston.  This $13 million capital investment is expected to create 100 jobs.


Diagonal’s Excel Engineering plans to remodel and purchase state of the art equipment

Excel Engineering, based in Diagonal, specializes in engine testing and natural gas engine design.   The company plans to construct and install a gas pipeline to accommodate future clients’ needs in the technical analysis necessary to test natural gas engines for major manufacturers.  In addition, the project includes remodeling one of the company’s existing buildings and the purchase of state of the art equipment.   The board awarded the company tax benefits for this $1.6 million capital investment that is set to create 10 jobs.

Ingredient processor in St. Ansgar to make $21.9 million capital investment

The board awarded Grain Millers, Inc. tax benefits for a $21.9 million capital investment that involves constructing a four-story facility, improving an existing processing line, adding a packaging line and purchasing equipment.   The St. Ansgar based company is a privately held industrial and consumer ingredient processing company that sells products to major food companies in North America.  The project is expected to create 10 jobs.


Demonstration Fund and Innovation Acceleration Fund awards made to four start-ups

The Demonstration Fund provides financial and technical assistance to encourage high-technology prototype and concept development activities that have a clear potential to lead to commercially viable products or services within a reasonable period of time.

The fund provides up to $150,000 to encourage commercialization activities by small and medium-sized Iowa companies in the advanced manufacturing, biosciences and information technology industries. The primary purpose of the fund is to help businesses with a high-growth potential reach a position where they are able to attract later-stage, private-sector funding. 


The Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund, one of several funds established under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), promotes the formation and growth of businesses that engage in the transfer of technology into competitive, profitable companies that create high paying jobs. The funds are designed to support commercializing research, launching new start-ups and accelerating private investment and industrial expansion efforts that result in significant capital investment.  


Award recommendations for both the Demonstration Fund and Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund are made by the Technology and Commercialization Committee to the IEDA Board for approval.

Solight, LLC, based in Fairfield, has developed and plans to manufacture and market solar thermal collector systems.  The solar collector system technology was developed by Foresight Technology, an Iowa technology company focused on developing innovative products in the area of clean energy and technology.  The company was awarded a $85,300 loan from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund and a $14,700 grant through the Demonstration Fund to assist the company in the next stages of development and commercialization of this technology.

The board awarded Ecosense, Inc. a $150,000 royalty via the Demonstration Fund to provide for scale-up of their product marketing and distribution on a broad national basis in early 2013.  The Estherville-based company has designed and developed an alternative reusable produce bag that incorporates several performance features (see-thru material, stretch along horizontal plane - not vertically, anti-microbial, machine washable/dryable, retains shape) and utilizes recycled material - post consumer recycled water bottles.

BettrLife Corporation - a health and wellness technology company – was formed in Urbandale in 2010 to develop and market an application that would provide for more efficient grocery shopping.    The company has developed a fully integrated mobile and web platform designed for mobile health coaching and is marketed to health and wellness providers.  Using the application, patient and member populations are able to develop and create customized meal plans through extensive recipes, products and restaurant listings, maintain food and exercise logs, as well as deal with allergies and ingredient preferences.  The company was awarded a $250,000 loan through the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund to commercialize a web portal and the mobile application.

The board awarded Dibzees a $500,000 royalty through the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund to be used toward the development of new elements for their online auction website that integrates shopping and entertainment features.  The company, which is based in Iowa City, was formed in 2009 from an idea spawned by several University of Iowa and Iowa State University students.  The company plans to launch new features designed to provide for differentiation among other competitors in the market space.


Download a spreadsheet of today's awards:


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Iowa Economic Development Authority
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone: 1.515.348.6200
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