By Idaho Commerce
Idaho continues to receive national and international attention. We regularly appear in the top 10 of several key rankings. We recently captured the #1 ranking for states with the fastest job growth, the most job satisfaction, the largest percentage increase of employment, and in-migration moves of residents. For travelers, Vogue magazine ranked Idaho as one of the best places to travel worldwide as a vacation destination. It is safe to say that Idaho is officially no longer a well-kept secret in the Intermountain West. People and businesses alike have discovered why Idaho is a great state to live, work, play, and do business – because we make it easy.
This ease of business and life is reflected in Idaho’s financial success with real gross domestic product increasing by 2.8 percent in the second quarter of 2016 – the third largest increase nationally – and wage growth of 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2016 – twice the national average.
Easy Access to Government
Being a small state works to the advantage of businesses. We have easy access to our state and local officials to help keep projects “moving at the speed of business.” The state-wide spirit of collaboration is known as “Team Idaho.” We aggressively work toward enhancing our state’s diverse and successful economy in order to encourage economic opportunities for every Idahoan.
Easy West Coast Access
Idaho has the benefits of a west coast location without the high costs of a west coast state. We are perfectly situated near both Canada and the Pacific Coast, and we have the most inland sea port on the west coast – the Port of Lewiston. Our location makes the logistics of importing and exporting goods simple. It’s one reason why the world’s largest independent hardlines distributor, Orgill Inc., expanded its network of world-class facilities with the addition of an approximately half-million-square-foot distribution center in Post Falls, Idaho.
Easy to Do Business
As a state with a balanced budget, low taxes, and limited state debt, Idaho boasts one of the strongest economies in the nation. The economy supports a wide range of industries, include our prominent agriculture and food processing industries as well as advanced manufacturing sectors, aerospace, semiconductors, unmanned aviation, and outdoor recreation technology. Our varied terrain and geography makes a perfect pairing for diversity in our industry clusters. We don’t get in the way of businesses doing business which is why our regulations have proven helpful to companies including Sakae Casting out of Japan who recently opened their first U.S. office in Idaho.
State and local government work with the private sector and economic development partners throughout the state to deliver more opportunities than ever for existing Idaho companies while allowing those new to our state to thrive. Our grant and incentive programs have enabled us to generate signiﬁcant forward momentum by investing in Idaho’s existing and emerging industries, public-private partnerships, commercialization of new technologies, expansion of international trade, and community development.
Idaho has experienced enormous success thanks to the Idaho Tax Reimbursement Incentive (TRI), which went into effect July 1, 2014. The TRI has proven to be instrumental in the state’s efforts to encourage business growth from existing companies wishing to expand their Idaho operations, as well as new companies looking to establish a presence into the Intermountain West.
Since its inception, there have been 36 projects approved for TRI – including companies like Albertsons, Dow Chemical, McCain Foods, and Idaho’s first medical school, the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine – resulting in a tremendous economic impact on Idaho:
- Total Jobs: 5,351
- Capital Investment: $966.6 million
- Total Wages: $2.34 billion
- New State Revenue: $261.5 million
Awards have been issued to companies representing such industries as food processing, advanced manufacturing, recreation technology, software technology, corporate offices/shared services, education, and aerospace. So far, the estimated return on investment is over 4:1, which is to say that TRI has been nothing short of a game changer for Idaho’s economy.
Easy Supply Chain Connections
Partnerships and collaboration aren’t just at the state and local officials’ level. Companies in Idaho have found the benefits of teaming up with their supply chain partners and using our smaller state to their advantage. Because of Idaho’s dominance in the dairy industry – consistently ranked in the top 5 in the nation – Greek yogurt giant Chobani chose Twin Falls, Idaho as the home to the world’s largest yogurt factory. Following their arrival, the packaging and “Greenware” manufacturing company Fabri-Kal decided to invest in a new $50 million, 100,000-square-foot design and manufacturing facility in a neighboring town and now supplies the plastic cups to their fellow Idaho company, Chobani.
Easy to Innovate
Our most promising innovations come from leading companies like Simplot, Micron, Albertsons, Chobani, and other entrepreneurial-minded businesses across the state. Many of these companies are finding success in part because of Idaho’s commitment to limit regulation and ensure a business-friendly environment where government is responsive to needs and works hard to not hinder the success of the people and businesses that make us so great.
Idaho knows the important role that supporting innovation plays in developing new and viable technologies. Innovation support is where the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) grant program helps Idaho businesses with research and development efforts while bolstering the capabilities of Idaho’s three major research universities.
IGEM funds commercialization research where business experts partner with university researchers to bring viable technologies to market. That includes projects like Boise State University scientists testing a new Bionic Hip System™ in partnership with veterinary surgeons at WestVet in Boise and engineers and distributors from MWI in Boise. The innovative canine hip implant works to improve the standard of care for treating hip osteoarthritis while reducing costs, improving canine mobility, and reducing complications.
The agriculture industry traditionally is one of Idaho’s most innovative industries. Together, agriculture and food processing generate 21 percent of Idaho’s total economic output in sales and 16 percent of the gross state product. Idaho is investing in the industries’ next generation innovation through a partnership between the University of Idaho and GenZ Technology to develop a new, hooded pesticide application system now being used on strawberry fields and on lettuce crops. The project has raised over $2 million in capital from angel investors and has won national recognition in technology innovation.
Idaho’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry produces promising innovations. Such leading companies as Simplot have partnered with Idaho State University to expand precision agriculture market opportunities with unmanned aircraft system sensors. The project utilizes hyper-spectral imaging via UAS to provide growers advanced insights and analytics about their crops in real time. Idaho State University and Simplot are working together to advance remote sensing applications in the evaluation of multi-platform data collection using UAS.
Idaho takes business very seriously and government officials work together to quickly bring more opportunity to Idaho’s citizens and businesses. The state’s grant and incentive programs are attracting more companies to the state than ever before. Coupled with high-quality of life and endless recreational opportunities, that means that once you arrive in Idaho, you’ll never want to leave.
Visit http://www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/idaho_ed for local economic development office directory listings.