The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board granted the Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority $12,592,000 for Project Enterprise Thursday. This grant is primarily focused around the construction of the physical plant for Project Enterprise in the High-Tech Park.
In return for the building, SEEDA will receive lease income over time for the use of the building. This is a grant. This is a remarkable shift toward incentive-driven economic development. Accolades to the city of Sheridan and Sheridan College for this effort.
Enabling construction of a building significantly incentivizes relocation. Providing economic incentives, like this, to entice economic relocation and development is a standard practice in our neighboring states. Take a look at the courting being done by 20 communities for the Amazon Headquarters — part of their criteria is simply “What can you give me?”
Another example is the city of Thorton, Colorado, which recently (two weeks ago) secured a Top Golf facility with $3.7 million in incentives. Businesses in the relocation and expansion mode often ask what incentives are available. Project Enterprise representatives, during the Wyoming Business Council board meeting on Dec. 7, 2017, stated expressly grant opportunity was key in their decision process.
How does this change our landscape? First of all, it will clearly, for the community, provide a good insight into the time and effort for business relocation to occur. It is not an overnight event.
Secondly, the driving theme to get the owner and management — which is termed C-suite of a company is critical — is different and of higher priority. Tax incentive for private business owners in Wyoming is significant, so securing ownership is a bigger standard and a higher win.
Thirdly, Sheridan’s infrastructure and forethought provide a good foundation for entities that need physical plants. We have space, resources and, as demonstrated by some local manufacturers, a clear supply logistics map. As with all things, workforce is always a challenge.
For the community, this is a clear marker, set by Vacutech LLC, that high-value manufacturing can be done and be profitable, validated by the growth of Kennon and L&H and now EMIT that Sheridan can offer a reasonable manufacturing environment. And we have the added value of the capacity and ability of specific training options from Sheridan College. In any event, businesses need a place to work, materials available, products transportable and workforce before any of the other amenities make any sense.
Jay Stender is the executive director of Forward Sheridan.