SIU remains attuned to ways we can support our regional and local economies. Being part of a newly designated “opportunity zone” will give us one more avenue to have a positive impact.
The new opportunity zone program is based on the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The act allows individuals and organizations to receive tax benefits for making a long-term investment in job creation in designated “zones.”
Governor Rauner recently announced more than 325 zones across Illinois, and much of SIU, including the Research Park, is located within one of them. This designation will allow us to work with local businesses to attract and support investors to our area.
While the details related to the process for investing in and seeking investments for opportunity zones are still pending, this is promising news for SIU and our region.
There are many, many other ways we support economic development as we fulfill our mission as a regional economic catalyst.
Our Small Business Development Center has a long history providing local business owners with the tools and guidance they need for success. The center also advises people interested in starting or expanding a business. Last year, the center advised more than 222 clients and helped entrepreneurs create 28 new businesses.
SIU is currently partnering with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to assist with strategic planning for the World Shooting Complex and Pyramid State Park.
And our long-term partnership with the non-profit IMEC helps small- to mid-sized manufacturers in Southern Illinois improve operations, processes and training.
These are just some of the examples of the ways we support economic growth in Southern Illinois.
Partnerships like these can make a tremendous positive difference for our community. In fact, partnerships are key to fulfilling our vision for the entire university. Stay tuned for more on this subject next week.