We recently held our investment breakfast to engage with our investors. This was an opportunity for investors to hear from the staff and network with other attendees. During the breakfast, the ECEDC team highlighted the current local economic landscape and seven strategies to drive investment in our community during these uncertain economic times.
The landscape is filled with mixed results. As there are many positives such as a growth in jobs and in population projected for this area, we also have seen a decrease in labor force participation. These metrics are essential as businesses look to expand their operation and maximize their capabilities.
That is why we felt it was important to share with our investors the tools we are utilizing to assist businesses and encourage investment. Take a look below at the 7 strategies we have been implementing to ensure our economy is heading in the right direction.
Ready Sites - The news of the "Old KBI" site being demolished is great for our community. Given its size, over 120 acres, and its access to essential utilities, being able to provide 80 MW of electricity, the demolition will position this site as one of the most competitive in the state. By getting the essential information necessary for developers to make quick decisions, we are well positioned to assist in an event a developer is looking to invest in Erie County.
Business Expansion and Start Up Guide - The ability for business to seamlessly get up and running is essential in this economy. If time is money, then the time spent bouncing around with different regulatory agencies can be costly. That is why we've developed 5, community specific, guides to help businesses navigate the various levels of red tape necessary to correctly start or expand their business.
Maximize Resources - Businesses of all sizes are looking to diversify their risk with the assistance of economic development dollars. From expanding their business, creating additional jobs, or upskilling their current workforce, businesses are ready to make the investment but fear the timing might not be right. Programs like the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant and TechCred, businesses are incentivized to make that investment through reimbursement programs.
Provide A Foundation - Through our Regional Incubator for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship (RISE) Program, we are able to provide small business owners the advising and mentorship they often need. With expert advisors, RISE helps businesses consider all the variables necessary for their success and how to accomplish it. RISE has also partnered with the Minority Business Empowerment Team (MBET) to offer seed capital to minority-owned startups that can help get the ball rolling on their business.
Minimize Waste - As businesses continuously explore ways to limit/cut costs, employee turnover is often at the top of the list. By utilizing Firelands Forward's Employer Resource Network, an installed Work Wellness Coach works alongside Human Resources to assist in barriers that may result in employee turnover. This program has been operational for over a year and has served 1600 employees providing 490 services and resulted in an estimated 300% ROI for local businesses. A second Employer Resource Network is currently being formed to serve additional businesses in our community. If you are interested in learning more, contact Firelands Forward.
Activate Data - Firelands Forward has recently completed a child care and housing study of the Firelands Region. This information provided the insights on the main barriers to workforce development and is leading to tangible solutions. For example, the housing study have shown us that the rental vacancy rate is 10X lower that what a healthy market should have. We are able to take that data to developers and showcase the large business opportunity for development.
Give Direction - In this hyper competitive global economy, a clear, unified regional strategy is necessary to be successful. We along with Norwalk Economic Development Corporation, Huron County Development Council, Erie County Government and Huron County Government, have worked together to begin the process of developing a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). This strategy will help give direction to both public and private sector investments, and opens the door for Federal EDA funding. This regional approach will position our community for a higher likelihood of investment.
As you can see, we are working hard to encourage and assist businesses to continue to invest in our community and its people. We want to ensure all businesses are aware of the work we do and how we can help. Please share this with your network and connect with our office if you are interested in learning more or are ready to make that next investment in your business.
Erie County Economic Development Corporation