Guest post from Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO).
Earlier this month, DEDO hosted the second annual Governor’s Entrepreneurial Business Conference. Nearly 400 people attended to hear experts share their experiences as successful economic developers, entrepreneurs and leaders in business.
The energy at the conference was exciting! For the first time, we used our new Twitter account to engage with attendees: by the end of the week, conference participants had created more than 25 pages of content and they kept sharing, even after the conference was over.
In the midst of continued change and volatility throughout the country, I was encouraged to see so many people committed to finding resources and making decisions that will impact the future of their businesses, and of Delaware’s future.
We must continue to make that commitment every day. Delaware has a productive, creative and promising economic system.
There are many advantages to doing business in Delaware:
Delaware’s small size is an advantage too. Government agencies work collaboratively to get businesses the resources they need.
These are all reasons why companies, large and small, continue to choose Delaware. They include companies like Fisker Automotive and PBF Energy Partners. But, they also include companies that begin in garages and basements, in temporary offices and in co-working spaces.
Entrepreneurial activity is – and will continue to be – a key driver of economic growth in Delaware.
That’s why we encourage and support our entrepreneurs. Under the leadership of Governor Jack Markell, Delaware continues to make investments to develop a thriving entrepreneurial culture.
That includes investments in the Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology; the University of Delaware Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR); the University of Delaware IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence INBRE; and, the Health Sciences Alliance, to name a few.
In addition, DEDO has implemented a range of initiatives designed to create and retain jobs in a rapidly changing economy.
The Delaware Strategic Fund
is our primary funding source to provide loans and grants to businesses for job creation, relocation, expansion and Brownfield redevelopment.
The Fund has supported the entrepreneurial growth of companies like Modular Carpet Recycling, which opened its first manufacturing facility in Delaware this month. The entrepreneurial clean technology startup manufactures high-purity renewed nylon from post-consumer carpet and other waste textiles.
DEDO recently awarded MCR a $603,000 loan for new manufacturing equipment at the site. The investment will bring approximately 30 new jobs to Delaware within three years.
The Delaware Strategic Fund also supports business research through funding bridge grants that will bring innovative new products, jobs and revenue to Delaware. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2009, DEDO has awarded twelve SBIR grants for a total of $450,000.
It has helped start-up businesses like Analytical Biological Services to continue development on a ground-breaking drug discovery technology. That technology combines computer modeling and lab tests to predict whether or not potential drugs can effectively reach their targets in the human body, such as cancer tumors.
The Delaware Strategic Fund also supports the Emerging Technology Center, which is dedicated to the creation and growth of emerging technology companies.
DEDO can provide assistance to entrepreneurs in collaboration with our many partners. In case you missed the conference, here are a few:
There are many more resources and programs available. For more information, visit http://dedo.delaware.gov. We’re here to help!
Written on: June 22nd, 2010 in Job Creation
Last week, we issued a call to action to get more Delawareans working together to get our neighbors back to work. Please join us to help spread the word and recruit new employers to our state.
The bi-partisan Business Finder’s Fee Tax Credit – or “BFF” – is now official. We are committed to making our state the best place to start and grow a business, so we have a great story to tell. The BFF program will enable us to share what’s best about Delaware with potential employers more effectively and efficiently.
The idea is simple, and it’s widely used in the private sector already. If a Delaware business is able to convince their suppliers, customers, business partners or other contacts to locate in Delaware – that’s something the state should encourage.
The Business Finder’s Fee Tax Credit will provide that incentive: The Delaware business that advocates for our state and the new business that is recruited will split a credit of $1,000 for each employee the new business brings here. The BFF tax credit is good each year for three years, and can increase over that time if employees are added.
We’ve kept the number of employees needed to qualify small – just three. So small businesses – the engines of our economy and the heart of entrepreneurship in this country — can take advantage of this too.
We all know the seriousness of the economic situation that we face nationwide and we recognize the need to continue our focus on creating jobs.
But no matter how hard the government focuses on job creation, we cannot fix the economy alone. We need eyes and ears everywhere, looking for every opportunity, large and small. We need thousands of mouths ready to tell the Delaware story, as well as thousands of fingers ready to type it and even thousands of thumbs ready to tweet it.
We need Delawareans with industry and sector-specific expertise ready to explain to their peers why our state fits their needs. And we need people who have earned the trust and esteem of their business partners, colleagues and contacts to share their Delaware experience.
The passage of this bill, which reflects our ability to reach across sectors, across parties, and across the state to get things done, represents one reason why Delaware is a great place to do business. It is part of the Delaware story, while also helping us to enlist the eyes, ears, expertise and esteem that we need to tell it.
Special thanks to Alan Levin and the team at DEDO, bill sponsors Rep. Brad Bennett, Sen. Catherine Cloutier, Sen. Nancy Cook, and Rep. Bryon Short; Sen. Brian Bushweller, who had some early conversations with Director Levin about the idea that ultimately became BFF; and the Small Business Caucus, led by Rep. Daniel Short and Rep. B. Short.
Written on: June 8th, 2010 in Effective & Efficient Government
Last week, we brought both energy and opportunity back to the shuttered facility formerly owned by Valero, turning it over to its new owners, the Delaware City Refining Company (a subsidiary of PBF Energy Partners).
PBF announced plans to invest $130 million and employ hundreds of workers to refurbish and restart the refinery. PBF anticipates that full production may begin as early as April 2011, employing roughly 700 full-time workers and permanent contractors.
We faced a challenge that seemed like a long shot, and people came together to respond quickly. Labor and management, business and government, across industries, across agencies, across our state – when it comes to jobs, Delaware makes teamwork a priority. More here.
The innovative and bipartisan Business Finders’ Fee (BFF) Tax Credits bill has passed both houses and is on its way to my desk to be signed into law.
We’re enlisting all of our businesses – small, medium, and large – as a sales force to tell the Delaware story to their suppliers, customers and other business contacts. The BFF Tax Credits provide incentives for companies to help recruit other employers to come to Delaware: the recruiting and the recruited companies will each be eligible for a $500 tax credit per employee their effort brings to our state.
For more information, please contact Gary Smith with the Delaware Economic Development Office.
May was a great month for healthy living in Delaware: We created the Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and TV’s Dr. Oz (a Delaware high-school graduate) introduced his innovative Healthcorps movement.
We also celebrated Strawberry Week, highlighting our local growers and the Farm-to-School Program, which provides healthy, fresh food for school children, educates youth about foods grown in their communities and expands market opportunities for local farms. More here.
I met with employers from across the state to discuss my proposals for allocating the recently projected increase in state revenue. We need to use what is largely one-time revenue to make investments that will create lasting private-sector job growth. To learn more about my proposals and hear a complete audio recording of the meeting, please click here.
Written on: June 8th, 2010 in Agriculture
May was a great month for healthy living in Delaware:
I signed Executive Order Nineteen, creating the Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, which will conduct an assessment, develop an overarching statewide strategy on promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing related diseases, and establish measurable outcomes.
We also had Strawberry Week to highlight the contributions of our farmers; promote healthy, local eating; and celebrate the fact that all 19 Delaware school districts are participating in our Farm-to-School Program. The program provides healthy, fresh food for school children, educates youth about foods grown in their communities and expands market opportunities for local farms.
Dr. Oz came to visit and brought Healthcorps with him. Dr. Mehmet Oz, the host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center, graduated from high school in Delaware. With the help of Nemours, he launched his innovative health movement to Delaware.
We’ve kicked June off to a great start as well: I was thrilled to see around 1500 girls participating in Saturday’s Girls on the Run race. Summer is upon us, and I hope everyone stays healthy by enjoying the Delaware State Parks Trail Challenge and our many fresh Farmers’ Markets!