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Governor's office program funds small rural companies

The governor's office of economic development recently announced the acceptance of rural fast track program incentive applications.

The governor's office is currently in the process of funding several existing rural Utah companies.

The program, which was passed by the Utah Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jon Huntsman, will offer help to rural Utah companies that are at least two years old and in a growth mode.

"Small businesses have always been a vital part of the Utah economy. When a company adds one or two or even a dozen new employees to their payroll in a small rural community, that growth can have a major impact for good," said Huntsman. "The companies we have recently assisted demonstrate that rural Utah produces significant world class products and services."

The program is designed specifically for businesses in communities with a county population less than 30,000 people and with an average county household income of less than $60,000.

The program provides an efficient way for existing, small companies to receive incentives for creating high paying jobs in the rural areas of the state to further promote economic development.

Under the program, 20 percent of the industrial assistance fund may be used to incent companies to expand in rural Utah.

At the local level, Charles Bardsley expects to add two positions at Mine Systems Company in Helper.

"Finding out that we had this resource available came at the most opportune time. I had been worried about where the money was going to come from to expand our company operations in the industrial battery repair business," said Bardsley. "This grant allows us to go to our lender and leverage the other $100,000 needed to complete our expansion project."

In the coal mining industry, batteries were shipped for repairs to the East Coast. But now that the Mine Systems shop has opened, the company is able to service batteries locally.

Funds are limited. Under the rural fast track criteria, eligible companies must:

•Be licensed to conduct business in Utah.

•Have been in operation within the state for at least two years.

•Have a minimum of two employees.

Companies may apply for grants, loans or other financial assistance to help develop and expand in rural Utah.

The maximum a business may receive is $50,000 if approved by the administrator.

The company's proposed development project should have a business plan showing a direct link with furthering economic development within the community and state.

Small companies may also apply for cash grants for creating and retaining high paying jobs in rural areas, according to the governor's office.

For additional information regarding the incentive program and funding application process, local companies may contact Amy Hamblin at (801) 538-8828.

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