IEDA Approves Financial Assistance for Blackhawk Engineering and start-up Bandwidth Pool

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Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)May 17, 2013 (DES MOINES, IA) – The  board today awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits for an expansion and small business development project. Today’s awards will result in almost $3.5 million in new capital investment for the state.

“Today’s awards demonstrate the importance of focusing on our strengths and fostering existing industry growth in Iowa,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham. “We are committed to providing companies that have chosen to do business in Iowa, the opportunity and resources to expand here.”

The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls.

Demonstration Fund award made to Cedar Rapids start-up

The Demonstration Fund provides financial and technical assistance to encourage high-technology prototype and concept development activities that have a clear potential to lead to commercially viable products or services within a reasonable period of time.

The fund provides up to $150,000 to encourage commercialization activities by small and medium-sized Iowa companies in the advanced manufacturing, biosciences and information technology industries. The primary purpose of the fund is to help businesses with a high-growth potential reach a position where they are able to attract later-stage, private-sector funding. Award recommendations for the Demonstration Fund are made by the Technology and Commercialization Committee to the IEDA Board for approval.

Cedar Rapids-based Bandwidth Pool was formally launched in 2013 when founder Ben Anderson, who previously founded Iowa-based, X-Wires, was dealing with a poor Internet provider selection he had made years prior. He learned that there is an unmet need for businesses to have greater visibility of their Internet provider choices and reputations before entering into a contract. Bandwidth Pool seeks to solve this problem for businesses across the United States by uncovering ‘hidden’ Internet providers and giving users more selection. The company was awarded a $100,000 loan through the Demonstration Fund to continue development of the company’s website and move the site into a full production environment.

Blackhawk Engineering, Inc. to expand production at Cedar Falls facility

Founded in 1974, Blackhawk Engineering, Inc. creates products that are related to drive-train needs for companies like John Deere and Caterpillar. The company plans to expand its manufacturing operations by adding another production line that will increase the number and variety of components produced at the facility. The board awarded Blackhawk Engineering tax credit assistance through the High Quality Jobs Program. The $3.5 million capital investment is projected to create 16 jobs, of which four are incented.


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About Ben Anderson

Ben Anderson is a graduate of the University in Iowa. While attending school, Anderson and a team of fellow students wrote a business plan for X-Wires, an Internet service provider focused on providing wireless Internet services to businesses and residences. Anderson and his team launched and grew the business to incorporate multi-family residential locations including colleges and university campuses, student housing, apartments, hotels and retirement communities. In 2010, portions of X-Wires were sold to publicly traded Keyon Communications of Las Vegas, Nevada and Campus Televideo of Stamford, Connecticut. Bandwidth Pool continues Anderson’s mission to bring low-priced, high-quality Internet access to an even larger segment of the population.

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