Sowing the Seeds

Companies Flourish in the State’s Fertile Soil

Heather Stewart

March 1, 2011


A Great Value

Companies worldwide are coming to Utah to look at the State as a site for doing business—whether it’s a manufacturing plant, an IT company, a renewable energy development or a new corporate headquarters.

“The economic challenges of the past few years have caused companies to think about ways to save money and increase productivity, and that includes looking at Utah,” Eccles says.

Though companies around the globe are taking a look at the State, homegrown companies are also reaping the rewards of Utah’s fertile economy.

Entrepreneurial success brought Utah native Jeff Nelson to a tough decision. His company, Nelson Laboratories, faced a crisis of growth—its staff of nearly 300 scientists and support personnel completely filled the company’s facility in Utah. But Nelson had plans for even greater growth, so he reluctantly began considering a move to a new location, even if that meant leaving Utah.

“It’s a very friendly business environment here,” Nelson says. “But as a businessman, I knew that all the cards were on the table.”

GOED stepped in with post-performance tax credit incentives that made it possible for Nelson to expand onto his current facility, nearly doubling the space to approximately 110,000 square feet.

“The incentives will allow us to continue to expand our operations here in the state,” Nelson says. “We wanted to be here and I’m glad that GOED was willing to work with us.”

Nelson is currently in the process of adding up to 350 new employees; many of them highly paid scientists and technicians.

Utah will reap the rewards of increased taxes—as well as the continued presence of a strong life sciences company contributing to the large and growing industry in Utah that has a global reach.

Nelson Laboratories provides analytical and microbiological testing services to the medical device, pharmaceutical and dietary supplement industries. With a 25-year history in Utah, the company boasts more than 4,000 clients in dozens of countries.

“The presence of Nelson Laboratories in Utah helps grow the life sciences cluster here. We are a benefit to the medical device and pharmaceutical companies that might want to move here,” Nelson says.


Cultivating Local Companies

Financial incentives are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to State support of local businesses. GOED has several programs that contribute to the success of companies in all regions of the State and in every industry.

For example, the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) helps small businesses navigate the difficult waters of government contracts. Counselors from the centers walk companies through the process of registering and submitting proposals for federal, state, local and military contracts.

GOED’s International Trade and Diplomacy Office assists local companies as they work to expand their reach into global markets. The team connects Utah businesses with potential international partners and markets. The office also relies on diplomacy to open up new foreign markets and educate the world about valuable industries in Utah.

Utah’s rural areas often provide an ideal business solution, with easy access to transportation corridors, an ample workforce and many natural resources. On top of these assets, the State offers fast-track grants and incentives for companies to expand and grow in Utah’s rural communities.

Agriculture is a large component of Utah’s economy, and a local organization is working to bolster the state’s many food producers, manufacturers and distributors. The Utah’s Own program was originally launched by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, but has expanded over the years with backing from the Utah Legislature. Utah’s Own encourages state residents to support homegrown companies by choosing local products.

The program started out promoting a small handful of Utah-brand food products, but has grown to encompass hundreds of food producers and manufacturers, as well as other agricultural products like natural-fiber fabrics and soaps.

“At GOED, our number one priority is creating jobs,” says Eccles. “Governor Herbert is constantly reminding all of us who work in economic development that our workforce, the quality of life and the right business climate is critical for us to maintain in order to continue attracting and growing outstanding companies.”

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