Iowa Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

For a list of Iowa economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.



Demonstration Fund: Designed to provide assistance to companies with market-ready innovative technologies or products that have a clear potential for commercial viability.

  • Assists companies with marketing and business development activities
  • Helps businesses with high-growth potential reach a position to attract follow-on private sector funding
  • Awards up to $100,000
  • Funds are primarily in loans or royalty arrangements with a 1:2 (private : public) match

Export Trade Assistance – The International Trade Office (ITO) at the Iowa Economic Development offers financial assistance to eligible Iowa small companies to help companies market their products and services to a global audience.

  • Export Trade Assistance Program (ETAP): Eligible Iowa companies reimbursed up to 75% of defined international marketing expenditures in a qualifying trade show or IEDA trade mission
  • Domestic Trade Assistance Program (DTAP): Eligible Iowa companies reimbursed up to 75% of defined international marketing expenditures in a qualifying international trade show held in the U.S.
  • ETech Trade Assistance Program (ETech): Eligible Iowa companies reimbursed up to $2,000 for participation in a Center for Industrial Research and Service-sponsored ExporTech™ training program

High Quality Jobs Program (HQJP): Iowa’s premier financial assistance program designed to support innovation and job growth. The program provides both direct financial assistance to companies in the form of loans and/or forgivable loans and tax credits. To qualify for this very flexible assistance package that includes loans/forgivable loans, tax credits, exemptions and/or refunds, a business must be a non-retail or non-service business.

  • Actual award amounts will be based on the business’ level of need; the quality of the jobs; the percentage of created or retained jobs defined as high quality; and the economic impact of the project.
  • Created jobs must pay at least 100% of the qualifying wage threshold at the start of the project and 120% of the qualifying wage threshold by project completion and through the project maintenance period.
  • Retained jobs must pay at least 120% of the qualifying wage threshold throughout the project completion and maintenance periods.
  • The business must provide a sufficient benefits package to all full time employees.

Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund: Promotes formation and growth of businesses that engage in the transfer of technology to competitive, profitable companies that create high-paying jobs. Funds are designed to accelerate the pace of market development, leverage private investment and industrial expansion efforts that result in significant capital investment. The fund provides financing to eligible businesses through two program components that correspond to different stages of growth for investment-grade, high-growth enterprises.

  • Awards in the form of royalty arrangements or loans with a 1:1 (private : public) match
  • The fund is split into these programs:
    • PROPEL awards up to $300,000 to accelerate market development for companies that have critical management in place, have a validated business model and an established customer base that’s generating substantive revenue
    • INNOVATION EXPANSION awards up to $500,000 to encourage expansion of product lines in companies that have a complete management infrastructure, a demonstrated historical profitability and an established customer base; funding provides assistance for product refinement and market expansion activities for unique, innovative and competitive products.



Brownfield/Grayfield Tax Credit Program: This tax credit program offers as a way to promote the economic health of communities by reducing environmental potential hazards, cleaning up eyesores, creating new jobs and boosting tax revenue. Brownfield sites are abandoned, idled or underutilized industrial or commercial properties where real or perceived environmental contamination prevents productive expansion or redevelopment. Grayfield sites are abandoned public buildings, industrial or commercial properties that are vacant, blighted, obsolete or otherwise underutilized.

  • Tax credits of up to 24% for qualifying costs of a Brownfield project and 30% if the project meets green building requirements
  • Tax credits of up to 12% of qualifying costs of a Grayfield project and 15% if the project meets green building requirements
  • Program capped at $10 million per fiscal year with a maximum award per project of $1 million

Iowa New Jobs Tax Credit: This one-time, corporate income tax credit is available to participants in the New Jobs Training (260E) Program. Iowa offers this credit as an incentive for businesses that provide additional training to employees and expand their workforce.

  • Maximum tax credit in 2017 is $1,758 per new employee
  • Tax credit amount depends upon wages paid and the year in which the tax credit is first claimed
  • Unused tax credits may be carried forward for up to 10 years
  • The tax credit may be claimed on Form IA 133 found on the Iowa Department of Revenue Web site.

NEW Renewable Chemicals Production Tax Credit: Iowa offers the first in the nation Renewable Chemicals Production Tax Credit. The program incentivizes the production of 30 high-value chemicals derived from biomass feedstocks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the credit represents the “strongest” incentive package for the bio-based chemical industry.

  • Annual limits of $1 million for startups and $500,000 for established businesses
  • Incentivizes production based on weight ($0.05 per pound produced)

Research Activities Credit: Iowa companies earn refundable tax credits for research and development investments that may be paid directly in cash to the company once its tax liabilities have been met. A company must meet the qualifications of the federal research credit in order to be eligible.

Tax credits are available for expenditures including:

  • Wages paid to an employee for performing or supporting a research activity conducted at an Iowa facility or for an employee in Iowa who directly supervises or directly supports research activities
  • Supplies including tangible property other than land, improvements to land and depreciable property
  • 65% of expenses related to contract research

Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit: A pilot program that allows diversion of withholding funds paid by an employer to be matched by a designated “pilot” city to create economic incentives directed toward the growth and expansion of targeted businesses locally. Match for every withholding dollar received. This match can be provided by a private donor, the pilot city, the employer, or a combination of all three; and can be in cash or in-kind contributions.

  • Withholding agreement allows up to 3% of gross wages paid by the employer to be directed to the project budget on a quarterly basis
  • All designated withholding funds and matching funds are to be used for an urban renewal project related to the employer as defined in the withholding agreement
  • Must be approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board prior to the execution of any withholding agreement
  • Withholding agreement may have a term of up to 10 years

Effective July 1, 2017, FY 2018 hourly wage thresholds are:

  • Burlington: $19.53
  • Council Bluffs: $18.18
  • Fort Madison: $21.79
  • Keokuk: $21.79
  • Sioux City: $21.40




Angel Investor Tax Credit: Increases the availability and accessibility of venture capital, particularly for ventures at the seed capital investment stage. The program encourages the creation of wealth through high-paid, new jobs while promoting industrial development and innovation. The total amount of tax credits available per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) is $2 million.

  • Investors can receive a maximum of $100,000 in tax credits per calendar year for a household (a household includes a person, the person’s spouse and/or dependent).
  • The investors in any one business can be issued a maximum amount of $500,000 in tax credits per calendar year

Endow Iowa: Community foundations enhance the lives of people across Iowa and improve the economies of the communities they serve. This program helps those foundations attract donations.

  • Donors to a community foundation may receive a state tax credit equal to 25% of the gifts
  • The maximum tax credit is $300,000
  • Tax credits through this program can be claimed by individuals, businesses or financial institutions

Tax Increment Financing (TIF): Businesses are given the incentive to construct new industrial or commercial facilities by receiving direct benefit from the property tax increase caused by the added value of those new facilities.

How It Works:

  • Business constructs new industrial or commercial facility
  • New facility increases property tax assessed on the business
  • City councils or county board of supervisors may use the additional property tax to:
    1. Finance direct grants or loans to the business.
    2. Offset the costs of public improvements or provision of utilities to serve the new private development.
    3. Provide the local match for federal or state economic development assistance programs.



To help Iowa companies maintain their competitive edge, the Iowa Economic Development Authority will help develop a workforce and training program to meet the specific needs of a company. By leveraging training resources, filling funding gaps in human resource development initiatives and sponsoring business consortia that address common employment training needs, the skills of Iowa’s workers are enhanced, allowing its industries to grow.

Accelerated Career Education Program (260G): Assists Iowa’s community colleges in establishing/expanding programs that train individuals in the occupations most needed by Iowa businesses.

Community College Consortium (260F): Provides funding assistance for community college-sponsored employee training projects in which two or more businesses participate. For participating businesses, the advantages include valuable employee training at a reduced – or no – cost.

Iowa Apprenticeship Program: Provides training grants to eligible apprenticeship programs.

Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program (260E): Provides no-cost or reduced-cost job training services to new employees of eligible businesses through Iowa’s community college system.

Iowa Jobs Training Program (260F): Provides job training services to current employees of eligible businesses that are located in Iowa. For participating businesses, the advantages include valuable employee training at a reduced—or no—cost.

Iowa Student Internship Program: Links college students from Iowa schools to internship opportunities in small and medium sized firms in the biosciences, advanced manufacturing and information technology industries with the goal of transitioning the interns to full-time employment in the state upon graduation.

STEM Internship Program: Assists in placing Iowa students studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into internships that lead to permanent positions with Iowa employers. IEDA provides assistance on a reimbursement basis for every two dollars of wages earned by the student, one dollar paid by the business is matched by one dollar from IEDA.