Business attraction competition and community engagement survey awarding over $15,000 in prizes specific to the City’s Opportunity Zones

The City of Coachella Economic Development Office is pleased to announce the launch of Opportunity Coachella, a business attraction competition and community engagement survey awarding over $15,000 in prizes specific to the city’s Opportunity Zones. 

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 incentives prizes of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000, in addition to its existing business incentive packages, for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize businesses chosen by a panel of judges.  There will also be a $1,000 prize for Community Choice selected by open voting to the community. 

The goal is to foster entrepreneurship in the community, create additional jobs from expanding businesses, bring additional in-demand services to our residents, and increase awareness of our  Opportunity Zones and the possibilities in the city for development. 

“We are excited to announce the launch of Opportunity Coachella,” stated Mayor Steven Hernandez  “this is a great opportunity for Coachella to attract new businesses or businesses in transition that may want to relocate.” added Mayor Steven Hernandez. “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, and the City of Coachella engaged several partners to bring this initiative to life.

The community engagement survey awards up to $5,000 by random drawing on $50 prepaid  Mastercards 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 bring in 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.  

Partners on this Opportunity Coachella will provide additional technical assistance support for entrepreneurs and business owners.  

The competition closes on July 6th, 2021 at 9am PST. Semifinalists will be selected by a panel of seven judges and announced the same week, and the selected winners are expected to be announced on July  15th via a live virtual event.  

City of Coachella, CA 

The “City of Eternal Sunshine – Gateway to the Salton Sea” is largely a young, vibrant and family  oriented area. With a population of over 45k residents with a median age of 30.8, the city has boasted a  strong growth rate of 1.2% over the past 8 years. The city is known for its close proximity to major annual festivals, PGA rated golf courses, casinos, and a regional airport. Given the growing population,  the City has undertaken a number of initiatives to increase access to affordable housing options, living wage job opportunities, and expanded infrastructure for the benefit of its residents. There are a number of other aligned incentives available for the targeted areas such as Foreign Trade Zones, HUB Zones,  Recycling Market Development Zones, and more to partner with developers and businesses looking to expand within the region. 

Riverside County, CA 

Situated just 60 miles east of Los Angeles, Riverside County is the 10th largest in the nation, the 4th  fastest growing in California, and contains the 3rd highest number of Opportunity Zones in the state of  California. The county’s Opportunity Zones span 14 cities and unincorporated areas, with access to over  20 colleges and universities in the region, close to major transportation hubs, and a workforce of over 1  million individuals. The unincorporated communities of Thermal, Mecca, and North Shore contain the largest contiguous land mass of Opportunity Zone census tracts in the region, with a number of special financing districts in place for infrastructure development such as an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing  District and incentive programs such as the Capital Investment Incentive Program for larger development projects and expanding businesses. 

City Possible 

City Possible™ is a new model for urban innovation in which a global network of cities, businesses,  academics and communities work together to make the world’s cities more inclusive and sustainable. 

Accelerator for America 

Accelerator for America finds and develops solutions to economic insecurity and shares them with cities 

to create national change from the ground up. It was Founded by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in  2017 around the idea that while Washington is broken and has, in fact, been broken for some time,  change is still needed and can be made at the local level. The Accelerator has since developed community wealth-building tools that are being used by more than 80 cities nationwide, and it has helped local communities generate more than $40 billion in funding for transit and transportation infrastructure through local ballot initiatives. 

Blended Impact 

Blended Impact is a Southern California-based impact investment firm that focuses across asset classes including real estate, growth-oriented operating businesses, and software growth equity. It is unique in its pipeline development, operating as a venture development firm and innovation lab alongside public and philanthropic partners, creating custom solutions to power the future of how we invest, earn, and live. Founded in 2019, Blended Impact has partnered with the University of California Riverside Center for Social Innovation, Accelerator for America, FUSE Corps, City Possible, and multiple other foundations, federal and state government agencies to advance investments in Opportunity Zones,  urban cores, and targeted rural communities nationwide, with the aim of delivering strong investment returns alongside positive social impact.