The City of Coachella Economic Development Office has launched Opportunity Coachella, a business attraction competition and community engagement survey awarding over $15,000 in prizes specific to the city’s Opportunity Zone areas.
The business attraction competition will accept applications from companies of any size seeking to launch, expand, or relocate to the City of Coachella and the adjacent unincorporated communities of Thermal, Mecca, and North Shore.
The city has prioritized three categories of businesses in high demand, including clean technology/clean energy, recreation/lodging, and manufacturing/advanced manufacturing and will award incentive prizes of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000, in addition to its existing business incentive packages, for the first, second and third place businesses chosen by a panel of judges. There will also be a $1,000 prize for Community Choice selected by open voting from the community.
The goal is to foster entrepreneurship in the community, create additional jobs from expanding businesses, bring additional in-demand services to the city’s residents, and increase awareness of the benefits of Opportunity Zones and the possibilities in the city for development.
“We are excited to announce the launch of Opportunity Coachella,” said Mayor Steven Hernandez. “This is a great opportunity for Coachella to attract new businesses or businesses in transition that may want to relocate. We want to make the most of this opportunity where businesses reap the tax incentives become more profitable while our residents benefit from good paying jobs that are close to home.”
This initiative was made possible through a grant awarded to create an Opportunity Zone prospectus and community engagement plan. The city engaged several partners to bring this initiative to life.
The community engagement survey awards up to $5,000 by random drawing on $50 prepaid Mastercard cards to residents of the City of Coachella and the adjacent unincorporated communities of Thermal, Mecca, and North Shore. The community engagement survey was designed in partnership with the UCR Center for Social Innovation and encourages residents to share their vision for a “Coachella of the future.” Responses will be used to help inform future city initiatives and development efforts.
Opportunity Coachella is part of an ongoing effort to attract businesses into underdeveloped or economically-distressed areas classified as “Opportunity Zones” within the city. Established in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as a bipartisan effort, Opportunity Zones are a new tool for community development which provides tax incentives for investment in designated low-income census tracts.
The competition closes on July 6, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. Semifinalists will be selected by a panel of seven judges and announced the same week. The selected winners are expected to be announced on July 15 via a live virtual event.