Commissioners agree to $400,000 in job grants for two companies

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – In a move to attract business development in Indian River County, the Board of Commissioners Tuesday agreed to provide nearly $400,000 in employment grants to a pair of companies, one of which is already doing business here.

AlgaGen LLC, a biotech company currently based on Oslo Road by I-95, and an unnamed software development firm which is considering starting up at an industrial park in Sebastian, each received unanimous votes of approval to receive the grants. The money has already been set aside in the budget and will begin to be paid out in installments starting one year after the companies have met the employment requirements.


“What I like about this is that they do not get paid before creating the jobs, they get paid after the jobs have been created,” said Commissioner Wesley Davis.

AlgaGen produces plankton and other forms of algae for retail fish food and commercial fisheries. It also is using microalgae to develop new products for the human health, animal feed additives, aquaculture and aquarium industries.

The company qualified for $36,000 in grant funding for bringing in six jobs that will pay at least the county’s median salary. The company is considering moving to the Historic Archie Smith Fish House in Sebastian and hiring 10 people. Of those employees, six would earn at least the county’s median salary of $35,880.

Currently the company has three employees and two unpaid volunteers. The jobs grant application showed the company expects to hire a chief executive officer, a chief financial officer, an engineer, technicians, a sales manager, an office manager and shipping/receiving clerk.

The software company is currently being represented by a private equity company called Eureka Growth Capital. The yet-to-be-named company is seeking to buy a company specializing in network monitoring software from a North Carolina-based business.

That deal is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The new software company is considering setting up in operations Indian River County among other options and  is expecting to create 57 jobs — 55 which would qualify for $363,000 in county grant dollars. Those jobs would be created over a three-year period and would be paid in installments over three years.

Company officials say they prefer the Indian River County site, but the decision will ultimately be left to the investors, who are also considering a location in Palm Bay.

The grant does not require that the employees  live in Indian River County, but the jobs must exist in the county. The company currently employs some number of telecommuters to conduct its operations.

“We’re pretty happy with the Sebastian location,” consultant Tim Keithahn told the county’s economic development committee last week, noting that the site is close to two airports, there are suitable accommodations for visiting customers and potential clients, and the overall appearance of the area is satisfactory.

“It’s very suitable to what we’re looking for,” he added.

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