As the Indiana Economic Development Corp. celebrates what it calls a record-breaking year for economic development in 2020, the focus now is on what will happen this year. In its annual report, the IEDC says the state secured 282 commitments from companies to locate or grow in the Hoosier state, representing more than $5.6 billion in planned investment, and more may be on the horizon. “We currently have about 42 projects in the pipeline, of which 22 offers have been made,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “Usually, when we make offers at that point, we have about an 80% track record of winning those projects.”
Schellinger discussed the 2020 numbers and the look to the future in an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick. He said even though the pandemic continues, companies are planning for much longer down the road.
“The time horizon for a business is much longer than you would for your health; if you’re sick, you go to the hospital or doctor,” said Schellinger. “But the businesses are planning for 2024-2025.”
Schellinger says the new projects on the horizon could mean 7,200 new jobs and $2.5 billion in capital expenditure for 2021. He adds the projects are also spread out to all regions of the state, some of which will boost the state’s already large manufacturing sector.
“We’ve got three of them that are going to happen, two in north central Indiana, one in southwest that are really significant projects, some of the largest projects that we’ve ever had,” he said. “And we’re in the final discussions with those companies and in some cases, we’re waiting on an announcement.”
He adds other projects in the pipeline include the life sciences, agbiosciences, logistics and IT sectors.
The IEDC is also preparing for Governor Eric Holcomb’s recently-announced Next Level Regional Recovery program. Schellinger says the effort, which does not yet have a price tag, will go forward as the governor said, but only if the state is in a financial position to do so.
“(It’s) modeled by Regional Cities but a little bit different because of the fact that we got a lot recovering to do yet,” he said. “It’s about getting the places back on track for his plan…but we want it to be focused on quality of place where businesses want to be and they want to be at those places because there’s good health, there’s good everything. And so it’ll be a lot like Regional Cities but with a twist to make sure that we’re helping communities that were struck hard by COVID.”
Schellinger calls the Next Level Regional Recovery program a “game changer” for the state.