The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board had its monthly meeting this morning. Here are three items on the agenda be aware of:

Social Club seeks money for small-town venue feasibility study

The IEDA board will vote on a professional services agreement for the Des Moines Social Club to look at how venues in smaller towns in the state could be better utilized to host entertainment. The Social Club will develop a statewide feasibility and economic viability report. The report would analyze underutilized or potential venues in Iowa communities with populations of 50,000 or less. The IEDA board will vote on whether to award the Social Club up to $92,800 to perform the study. The Social Club was one of five groups to send a proposal to do the study, and its proposal most closely met the IEDA's requirements. 
(UPDATE: The board amended the agenda to remove this item so the staff could reassess and reevaluate the program.)

 

Iowa Business Growth Co. to exit small business lending program

Iowa Business Growth Co. will request a termination of its contract to administer a state program designed to help small businesses gain access to private capital. The program, called the Iowa Capital Access Program, has attracted little interest from bankers and small businesses. It was created  in December 2011 to provide loan portfolio insurance to reduce lender risk. Of $1 million allocated to the state through the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative, only about $9,000 has been used in the past three years for a handful of deals, said Dan Robeson, president of Iowa Business Growth. "Our concern was we didn't want to hold this money in reserve if there are other programs that are successful and could use it more," Robeson told the Business Record. If the program is terminated, the remaining federal funds will be moved to the IEDA's Innovation Acceleration Fund, pending U.S. Treasury Department approval. Click here to read a related Business Record article about the program.
(UPDATE: The board voted to end the Iowa Capital Access Program.)

 

American Republic Insurance Co. seeks funds for major renovation

According to documents submitted to the city of Des Moines, American Republic Insurance Co. is seeking $1.86 million in state of Iowa investment tax credits and $530,000 in sales tax relief for a nearly $29 million renovation of the company's headquarters building at 601 Sixth Ave. American Republic also is seeking state historic tax credits of $6.7 million and federal historic tax credits of $5.3 million. American Republic intends to pump about $12 million of its funds into the renovation of the nearly 60-year-old building and add more than 160 employees over the next five years.
(UPDATE: The board voted to award the American Republic with tax incentives through the High Quality Jobs Program.)