By Roneshia Thomas
From the January / February 2023 Issue
Kansas generated nearly $7.5 billion in capital investments last year. Contributing to that number was Panasonic, which announced a $4 billion electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in De Soto in November 2022.
“My administration has made Kansas a state where businesses have the support and stability they need to grow, hire, and succeed,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “These efforts have resulted in companies creating jobs across the state and corporations of all sizes from around the world choosing to be part of our economic development success.”
With record capital investment into the state in 2022, the Kansas Department of Commerce pledged an additional $50 million to fund the Building a Stronger Economy (BASE) grant program. The BASE program was created to support infrastructure development to address economic development opportunities statewide with the goal of expanding Kansas’ base of businesses and residents and requires a minimum 25% match investment by the applicant.
In the first month of 2023, Kansas State University announced a project to expand the ongoing land-grant mission by collecting expertise from entrepreneurs to promote the growth of business startups and existing companies in communities throughout the state.
According to Kansas State University President Richard Linton, the university plans to create 3,000 jobs and bring in $3 billion of capital investments by 2030. To help in this mission the university has partnered with the nonprofit NetWork Kansas to boost statewide economic development by providing entrepreneurs with better access to expertise, education, and economic resources. This statewide program aims to reach all 105 counties and seeks to meet specific community needs.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition Chooses Kansas
To promote growth in the state’s economy the Kansas Department of Commerce offers the Strategic Economic Expansion and Development (SEED) grant program. This program offers grants to support the economic growth and revitalization of Kansas communities with under 5,000 population through investments in quality-of-life initiatives.
Kansas is also known as the leader in global animal health and nutrition products in the United States. The animal health industry in Kansas alone accounts for 56% of total worldwide animal health, diagnostics, and pet food sales. There are over 14,000 employees in the industry statewide and it contributes $2.2 billion to the state’s total GDP. Being ranked third in exports of veterinary vaccines, Kansas is an attractive site for businesses looking to grow and expand in the animal services industry, such as Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Early this year, Hill’s announced plans to expand its footprint in Kansas with the relocation of its global and U.S. headquarters to Aspiria Campus, located in Overland Park. The global leader in science-led pet nutrition will create a new hub in the Greater Kansas City area, while continuing to invest in its global science, technology and manufacturing hubs in Topeka, KS. The move is expected to take place at the end of this year.
Hill’s presence in Topeka includes its Pet Nutrition Center, a 170-acre research and development campus in North Topeka, which is inclusive of the new Small Paws Innovation Center, a $30 million, 25,000-square-foot facility that opened in late 2021. Additionally, Hill’s Topeka and Emporia manufacturing sites will remain, as well as a new manufacturing site in Tonganoxie, which is slated to open in 2023. Hill’s will also continue its support of its Topeka community partners and the Topeka community, while expanding charitable efforts to the Greater Kansas City region.
“We are proud to extend our 75-year history in the Sunflower State. We will continue investing in our science, innovation, and manufacturing hubs in Topeka—while expanding our footprint with the creation of a new hub for our Global and U.S. headquarters in the Greater Kansas City area,” said John Hazlin, President and CEO of Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “This marks an important step in our global growth as we work to meet the growing demand for our science-led pet nutrition.”
Hill’s conducted an extensive search in the Midwest region before selecting the Aspiria Campus site. The Hill’s office design will create a modern approach to the workplace, including an on-site dog park. As a global company, the centralized location will provide closer proximity to the Kansas City International Airport, as well as greater access to the benefits of a major metropolitan area.
“The Kelly Administration continues to deliver on the promise to bring prosperity to the state,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The state is pursuing—and landing—the kinds of companies and industries that will deliver high-quality, sustainable jobs for generations to come.”
Kansas Department of Commerce has recorded 817 economic development successes since January 2019. These projects have landed in 83 of Kansas’ 105 counties.
Visit www.kansascommerce.gov for more information.
Topeka, KS Has Plenty of Incentives To Offer
Location, location, location! Home to the geographic center of the contiguous United States, Kansas and its capital city have much to offer employers and entrepreneurs looking for the ideal spot to capitalize on their next great business opportunity. In fact, goods shipped by truck from Topeka reach a quarter of the U.S. population in just one day, with the ability to reach 90% of the country’s population by day two. As those familiar with the area will tell you, Kansas is much more than a flyover state!
For those looking to take flight, though, Topeka boasts a regional airport featuring a 12,800-foot runway, and the city is less than an hour’s drive from Kansas City International Airport, which has been busy completing a major renovation that will soon result in a new terminal, which promises to transform air travel in the region.
Back on the ground in Kansas’ capital city, great emphasis is being placed on Topeka being a growing hub for fintech and financial services, food processing and large-scale manufacturing endeavors, and innovation and entrepreneurship. Recent expansions, strategic partnerships, and innovative initiatives back this up. Not only has the greater Topeka area been the target of major investments by Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, which chose to stand up its largest distribution center in Kansas here, but the capital city has also seen financial companies with headquarters in the area, including Advisors Excel and Security Benefit, experience significant growth. Add to that an expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem made possible by partnerships between GO Topeka and regional resource providers—as well as a burgeoning innovation scene being advanced by the buildout of Topeka’s ASTRA (Animal Science, Technology, Research, and Agriculture) Innovation Center Campus and the Plug and Play Topeka startup accelerator focused on animal health and agricultural technologies—and you’ve got a diverse local economy worth cooing over.
The area’s aggressive yet flexible economic development incentives, meanwhile, make growth within the community or expansion into the area that much more doable and attractive. Those incentives—often provided through the Topeka/Shawnee County Joint Economic Development Organization, established by a 20-year-old interlocal agreement between the city and county—allow for customized workforce training programs that meet the unique needs of regional employers. And with four different Kansas universities within 60 miles of the capital city, attracting the right people to fill your team just got easier!
For more information, visit www.gotopeka.com.