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Iowa Economic Development Authority COVID-19 Response

Relief Programs for Iowa Small Businesses

Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority (IFA), speaks during a recent webinar on IEDA and IFA responses to COVID-19.

Debi says we must act swiftly and with purpose. The state’s agencies and leadership are working around the clock after it was identified that the pandemic would affect Iowa as it has states around the country. The IEDA, the IFA, Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Department of Revenue have come together to create a unified response for the gaps in the federal government’s response/stimulus package. She explains that the above organizations wanted to connect to ensure that whatever programs they put in place wouldn’t overlap, or interfere, with the federal package.

Iowa Small Business Relief Program & Tax Deferral

In the past few weeks, there have been two main objectives: keep as many people employed as possible and develop a grant relief program.

The Iowa Small Business Relief Program will offer small businesses grants that range from $5,000-$25,000, as well as deferral of sales and use or withholding taxes due and waiver of penalty and interest via the Iowa Department of Revenue. This program calls for supporting a sector of the business community that is usually not served and propping it up in a matter of days. In order to help with this task, Debi explains how she reached out to the University of Northern Iowa to help create and launch a survey that yielded 13,000+ responses from businesses and organizations from across the state. The survey will give the IEDA an idea of the impact the current crisis has and will have on the state wide business community. The survey has already gained the attention of states and organizations across the country. Results of the survey will be shared on an aggregate basis.

Responding (Triage)

Debi goes on to speak about how IEDA is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is, essentially, dealing with the emergency in front of you, including stopping evictions and foreclosure notices, as well as dealing with accommodations in the real estate industry.

Recovery Plan

What does a recovery plan for after the pandemic look like? Debi is in the process of putting together a document for Gov. Reynolds that outlines what DSM and the state will need once we’ve overcome the emergency portion of the pandemic, looking at what needs to be put in place to get the economy back up and running — from innovation platforms to capital flow. Debi suggests two informative websites, iowabusinessrecovery.com and iowahousingrecovery.com, that are real-time resources currently offering help to businesses looking for assistance. These websites are regularly updated and will continue to be through the pandemic.

Debi answers attendee questions in the Q&A portion of the webinar, offering information on the following topics, and more:

  • Reaching minority-owned business
  • Distribution of housing funds
  • Rural versus urban businesses/communities
  • Tenant-based rental assistance
  • Impact on Reinvestment Districts

Watch the entire webinar here.

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here, including employment resources for those impacted due to COVID-19.

Find these tips useful? Find more business tools and information by visiting the Business Resources page.