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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce

Annual Report


Program # of Grants EDA Funds
Economic Adjustment Assistance 2 $810,577
Planning 14 $887,500
3 $446,013
Total 19 $2,144,090

Throughout its 50 year history, Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) has included economic development as an essential component of its mission. Serving ten rural counties in southeastern Iowa, IHCC views its role as extending beyond simply providing continuing education opportunities, serving as a leader in addressing the difficult economic conditions facing its community including population decline, lower than average per capita income in the region and net job loss.

To address these issues head on, IHCC established the Regional Economic Advancement Center (REA) – a collaboration of public and private entities with the mission of improving the economic conditions of the region.  REA attracted other public and private partners that collaborated to plan, develop and fund a regional business incubator.  With EDA funding for both the initial feasibility study and the physical construction, REA constructed the Indian Hills Regional Entrepreneurship Center (REC) on IHCC’s north campus in Ottumwa. Built with the assistance of a $750,000 EDA Public Works grant, the REC is a multi-use, full-service training center and business incubator that opened in 2014.

The Center is a place for businesses to grow and ultimately graduate from the incubation stage to locate in the 10-county region and help to strengthen local economies. The region has a strong presence of bio-processing companies whose primary outputs are corn sugar, corn oil processing, animal feed/animal nutrition, and the enzyme industry.  All are used in a large variety of products and processes. Many companies  provide add-on services to these bio-processing companies, but they are located outside of the geographic region.  The REC is contributing to the success of this cluster environment by offering local incubation space to those companies providing add-on services to the region's bio-processing companies. IHCC predicts that over 450 jobs will be created or saved as a direct result of the business incubator project.