Spotlight: U.S. Economic Development Administration and Indiana University Launch New USA Opportunity Zones Tool
On January 14, EDA and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business announced the launch of the USA Opportunity Zones tool.
This new web-based tool will help local economic and community developers, investors, the more than 390 EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDDs), and others across the nation better target private investment to Opportunity Zones.
As economic development practitioners build their five-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS), incorporating Opportunity Zones is a new and promising tool for further enhancing economic growth.
“This tool links and leverages two EDA initiatives to support private Opportunity Zone investment: the large project-based investments in distressed communities and providing the data, tools and analytical resources for economic development through StatsAmerica,” said Timothy Slaper, co-director of the Indiana Business Research Center at IU’s Kelley School of Business. “Having private Opportunity Zone investment piggy-back on EDA’s community investment would be a force multiplier.”
There are more than 8,760 designated Qualified Opportunity Zones (PDF) located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five United States territories. Investments made in Opportunity Zones are helping transform distressed communities across the country.
Like other StatsAmerica tools, the USA Opportunity Zones tool is easy to use, with multiple reports from the perspective of the zone itself, the congressional district, and the economic development district and state in which it resides. This will provide unique context to users.
The website project is funded through EDA’s Fiscal Year 2018-2020 Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), which makes $1.5 million available for Research and Evaluation (R&E) projects and $1 million available for NTA projects.
Through the R&E program, EDA supports the development of tools, recommendations, and resources that shape federal economic development policies and inform economic development decision-making.