Governor Tom Vilsack today (Monday) signed a bill that extends a state tax break for those who invest in start-up businesses. The 20 percent tax credit was set to expire July 1st. “This is an important piece of legislation because it continues our effort, started several years ago, to create an Iowa that is more condusive to small business development, an Iowa that more opportunity with venture capital funds that enable small businesses to get started,” Vilsack says. A total of 10 million dollars in tax credits have been available to community groups, businesses or individuals who invest in venture capital funds. Less than two million dollars worth of tax credits have been handed out so far. In addition, the chambers of commerce in Ames and metro Des Moines along with Des Moines Area Community College and Iowa State University are getting 175-thousand dollars from the state to set up a business “accelerator.” Department of Economic Development director Michael Blouin (BLEW-in) says the “accelerator” will be a sort of “mentor” for business owners. Blouin says it’ll provide information on how to put a business plan and marketing plan together and how to find customers. And it won’t serve just start-up businesses. “We know that the heart of Iowa’s economy is existing business and we know our future lies in not only helping existing business grow but in helping new companies find ways of successfully being born,” Blouin says. Martha Willits of the Greater Des Moines Partnership says her group, along with the other partners in Ames, at ISU and DMACC, are putting in money, too, so the business “accelerator” will run on nearly half a million dollars over the next three years. Willits says they’ve already helped one start-up business last week that asked for advice.
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