SALT LAKE CITY -- One of Utah's fastest growing areas is bringing new ways to help locals learn more about the tech community and start their own businesses.
Startup Ogden, along with the Governor's Office of Economic Development announced today that Startup Ogden would receive funding to complete their three-story technology hub located in downtown Ogden.
This one-time $100,000 GOED economic opportunity grant will be added to more than $2 million in funding provided by Weber State University, Ogden City and a federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant. Startup Ogden's association with Weber State University will help the organization bring more startup companies to Utah and will provide technology training opportunities for Utah residents. As part of Startup Ogden, residents will also have access to a bookstore, co-working space, mentorship and classroom for training people who work in the technology sector.
Along with the training that will be offered to Utah residents, Startup Ogden is offering 12-week startup programs that will incentivize technology companies to relocate to Ogden. These companies will each receive mentorship, professional services, and up to $50,000 in repayable grants. With the companies serving as anchor tenants, the Startup Ogden building will serve as a focal point of downtown Ogden's growing tech community.
"Industrial Assistance Fund (IAF) grants like this are long-term investments in our State's well-being. This grant is a small piece of a larger puzzle that will help Utah thrive for years to come," GOED executive director Spencer Eccles said.
Startup Ogden predicts that they will train 50+ entrepreneurs per year via Weber State continuing education classes, and industry taught short courses on cutting edge topics such as node.js, Xcode, and Ruby on Rails. These training events will create a more skilled workforce and will help entice companies to grow in Utah.
In other business, the GOED board has also approved an economic opportunity grant for Visit Salt Lake. Formerly the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Salt Lake promotes Salt Lake County as a convention and travel destination. The organization attracts and provides support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors while being a leader in environmental responsibility. It also hosts over two dozen city wide conventions annually, with each convention bringing thousands of people to the state.
Two of its most widely recognized conventions are the summer and winter Outdoor Retailer (OR) trade shows. During the last summer OR show, nearly 26,000 outdoor enthusiasts attended, bringing $25 million in visitor spending to the state. Together, the summer and winter shows bring more than 46,000 people to the state each year and are now approaching $40 million in annual revenue.
This trade show, and the industry it represents, continues to experience substantial annual growth, so Visit Salt Lake is requesting assistance from GOED to construct a 150,000 square foot tent each year, through 2016, that will supplement OR's use of the Salt Palace Convention Center. Currently, Utah does not have a facility large enough to host the Summer OR show, so providing a facility like this will allow the show, and its economic impact, to stay in Utah.
During last year's shows, OR directly provided over $16 million in wages for 611 jobs. The GOED grant will help the OR continue to provide roughly 550 jobs a year, and will bring in nearly $75 million in new state wages and over $14 million in new state revenue over four years.
"The relationship between Outdoor Retailer and our community goes well beyond the hospitality and tourism industry of Salt Lake," commented Scott Beck, president & CEO of Visit Salt Lake. "This partnership with the State of Utah, County of Salt Lake and Salt Lake City on the outdoor pavilions for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is a reflection of the enormous economic impact of the outdoor industry across our entire state."
The commitment to the outdoor pavilion space and the ongoing community support for this show will keep the show in the community through 2016. Beck noted, "The Outdoor Retailer show is vital to the continued growth of our State economy as well as our reputation as the Outdoor Industry Capital of North America."