About 20% of Iowa businesses are experiencing financial stress, and 55% have experienced negative supply chain distributions from their critical suppliers, according to a survey conducted as part of the Iowa Economic Development Authorities Business Expansion and Strategic Trends (BEST) initiative. Through the BEST initiative, IEDA and its economic development and utilities partners focused on opportunities to support growth and remove barriers that the COVID-19 pandemic created for Iowa companies. The 2020 BEST of Iowa report identified trend information from interviews completed with 813 companies across 76 counties. Despite the challenges, many companies had adapted and were moving forward. Just over 5% of companies had delayed or canceled plans to expand, while 297 have plans to expand, representing more than $2.6 billion in investments and the creation of more than 3,900 jobs. The report, released Feb. 1, also included several recommendations:
- Helping communities develop sites that meet the needs of growing companies.
- Supporting research and development tax credits.
- Increasing and expanding technical training opportunities.
- Encouraging the expansion of broadband access.
BEST of Iowa also announced the 2020 BEST of Iowa Excellence Award recipients, recognizing the Albia Industrial Development Corp., the city of Ankeny, Buchanan County Economic Development and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance for their work to support Iowa’s businesses.