Law aims to encourage investors to put money into small businesses

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Pistachios and nuts could be someone's next big investment, thanks to the Opportunity Zone Fund.

"We see the fund is a great incentive for investors to come in and bring capital to private companies like ourselves so we can grow and create a new business on one side and grow the other business on the other side," said Bill Pitman, Heart Ridge farms co-owner.

Pitman is one of the owners of Heart Ridge Farms. They also oversee a company for the exporting and processing of nuts and food safety.

Their enterprise is one of the first in the Valley to allow people to invest in a business through an Opportunity Zone, which was passed through the Tax Cuts and Job Acts signed by the federal government in 2017.

"They can take that capital gain and invest it in an opportunity zone and they can defer their capital gain and overtime if they hold it in the fund long enough, the gain can be discounted by up to 15-percent. Plus any new gain is free from any capital gains," said Bobby Kahn of the Madera County Economic Development Commission.

Bobby Kahn with the Madera County Economic Development Commission says this investment is unique because this allows people to put their money in a business. Most of the other funds deal with real estate.

Right now the corporation has 25 employees, but they believe one day they could hire more people.

"As we grow so do or supplies so the ripple effect is huge. It's very big. It's multiple times our growth because of box suppliers, almond suppliers, seasoning people and everybody else," Pitman said.

The plan in place aims to help underserved communities.

Madera County says the opportunity zone is available in select areas in Madera, Chowchilla, and Oakhurst. They're hoping other investors will jump on board and help them grow.
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