CEO’s Report – Investing in the communities we serve

Owning a business in a small, rural community often takes a leap of faith.

But many entrepreneurs are willing to take that leap because they want to be part of the revitalization of rural America. They want to ensure that rural communities not only survive, but thrive.

At Heartland, we have the same goal and so we strive to help businesses in our customer communities succeed. That’s why we offer a variety of programs to help new businesses get started and existing businesses grow.

The idea is to use our incentives as a carrot to entice businesses to choose a Heartland community when deciding where to locate. Or, if someone in your community is thinking about starting or expanding a business, we want our programs to make it easier for them to take the leap.

We want all our customers to be familiar with the programs we offer, so you can effectively champion them to anyone looking to invest in your community.

 

Rebates and incentives for jobs created

Crawler Welding earned $1,600 in electric rebates after moving their operation to Lake Crystal, Minnesota.

Estimating expenses for a new business, particularly electricity bills, can be tough. To help ease the initial burden, Heartland provides rebates on electric power bills for the first three years of operation. At the end of the three years, the business will have received the equivalent of one year’s worth of free power.

We also offer cash incentives for creating new jobs during the first three years. Certain requirements apply and jobs must be full-time, non-temporary employment.

Since 2004 when the programs were created, Heartland has issued over $1 million in growth and hiring incentives to qualifying businesses and helped create or save more than 350 jobs.

Each investment results not only in community development, but in the addition of electric load, which benefits all Heartland customers. In 2017 alone, participating companies purchased an additional 1,600 MWh of energy with help from our incentives.

 

Low-interest financing and cost breaks for new and expanding businesses

Access to affordable financing is key to growth in any community so Heartland also offers low-interest financing to businesses through our revolving loan fund, the HELP Fund.

Heartland can provide affordable financing thanks to funding from the USDA Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program.

Heartland’s Energy ONE Incentive provides a special energy-only rate for new retail loads with an approximate demand of one megawatt or larger and in communities with a population of 3,000 or less, a demand of 500 kilowatts or larger.

Kraft Heinz in New Ulm, MN is the latest company to take advantage of this rate, which will provide significant savings, as well as stable pricing, during the first few years of operation of their recent expansion.

 

Economic development grants

Arlington, SD will launch a marketing campaign for their local industrial park with help from an economic development grant.

Heartland customers themselves are also eligible for economic development assistance from Heartland. We award grants to customers and their economic development corporations to fund projects that will help promote development.

Recent projects to receive grant funding include the development of a comprehensive plan, preparation to obtain Certified Ready Site status and infrastructure improvements.

 

Your partner in growth and development

Heartland is committed to our customers and that’s why we continue to invest in the communities we serve. We strive to create economic stability and a superior quality of life as well as to be a trusted partner.

If you have any questions about our programs or simply want to learn more, I encourage you to reach out to Casey Crabtree, our director of economic development. You can also check out our website at www.hcpd.com/economic-development.