Do you know your local economic development team?

Knowing and utilizing your local economic development team can be the boost needed to complete your projects.

Both community and local businesses play an important role in the quality of life offered in a particular area. When the well-being and quality of life for a community is combined with the support of businesses that create and/or retain local base jobs, the result is economic development. Economic development is multifaceted, and its success is driven by the combination of community and business development activities that affect and improve the community as a whole. The most successful examples take a team approach with many agencies and organizations working together to share expertise and resources.

The center of the economic development team is very often the local economic development organization (EDO). EDO’s can take on many shapes and sizes, but are primarily identified by their experience, expertise and contacts with the many agencies and organizations that support communities and businesses. One important area of expertise your local EDO provides is the ability to identify potential grant funding opportunities. These grant opportunities are often the most critical component to a project’s feasibility. Experienced EDO staff can provide grant application and administering support to see economic development projects through from concept to completion.

An example of a successful EDO in Northern Michigan is Michigan State University Extension partner, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA). Established in 1984, NLEA has a long record of providing economic development support to a variety of both public and private organizations. There are numerous economic development organizations throughout the state of Michigan that can assist your community and business. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) hosts a comprehensive list of these organizations on their website.

 “Michigan State University Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.”

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