The Delaware Prosperity Partnership announced that it is currently engaged with 30 companies focused on business recruitment, business growth or business retention. The 30 projects represent a total of approximately $80 million in potential capital investment and approximately 3,900 jobs in Delaware.
Sectors range from manufacturing to agriculture and include existing companies as well as new ventures.
The partnership is a public-private venture that includes funding from the State of Delaware as well as private sources.
“While we’ve only been fielding and supporting inquiries for less than a year, we’ve had good progress and inquiries are increasing steadily. November and December have been especially busy with 15 new inquires,” said Becky Harrington, director of business development at the Wilmington-based partnership.
Partnership President Kurt Foreman said the work of the partnership is producing solid results.
“To date we have had 9 announcements. As a result, Delaware will benefit from $100 million in capital investment; the creation of 400 new jobs and retention of 1100 jobs,” Forman said. “Expansions are just as important as new growth is; prospective businesses like to see that the current companies — who’ve already bought the “product” previously – are choosing to continue to grow in the location they are considering for the first time. Theannouncements include: Ashland, Adesis, Colfax, Decorticate USA Inc.,Dot Foods, Eastern Industrial/PTMFMC Stine Haskell,Solenis andJustFoodforDogs.”
The partnership was spun off from the former Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO). Gov. John Carney said the shift took place at the suggestion of the business community.
A portion of the former DEDO is now part of the Division of Small Business, which is part of a wide range of offices of the office of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State’s office includes a wide range of regulatory agencies that include incorporation and regulatory matters. Incorporation fees are a key source of state revenue.
The partnership has been working to raise its profile and roll out features such as a website with videos and information on Delaware for current and prospective business. (See video below on a Europeanflooring company that chose Delaware as a manufacturing site prior to the formation of the partnership.
The partnership has come under fire for a governance model that critics claim lacks transparency. Foreman says confidentiality of prospective companies is often a key element in the process.
“The model of private public partnership is working, and we value the governor’s foresight in embracing this model. Our board is engaged and committed to Delaware Prosperity Partnership’s mission,” Foreman said. “As the governing body that oversees the advancement of our mission, they are regularly updated on Delaware Prosperity Partnership’s progress and advise us on strategy.”
Foreman continued, “In economic development, it is not uncommon for nondisclosure agreements to be signed and we also frequently work on projects where we don’t know the identity of a company initially. We honor the path that companies choose to follow and are mindful that the trust created with potential clients is essential to Delaware’s success. Our board understands and respects this process.We do discuss key challenges and tradeoffs when they arise, or it is needed, but the specific identity of individual projects is typically not part of our meetings.”