Recognizing Economic Developers in May

Recognizing Economic Developers in May Main Photo

4 May 2020

May 4-9 is International Economic Development Week (EDW). It’s an opportune time to reflect on the importance of local economic development efforts in building a vibrant and sustainable community. In Ottumwa, economic vitality starts at Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress. 

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) created EDW in 2016 to help raise awareness for the profession. Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) are often misunderstood because their activities happen behind the scenes, outside of the public eye.

EDW is a chance to recognize economic developers, the local leaders and organizations that work tirelessly to recruit investors, develop businesses, create jobs, enhance the tax base and ultimately improve the quality of life of their communities.

Did you know that Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress provides a comprehensive range of critical services geared towards building the local economy and supporting area businesses?

Here are some of the primary ways EDOs like GOPIP work to enhance our communities:

Support for entrepreneurs and small businesses

EDOs and their partners such as the Indian Hills Entrepreneurship Center, are a valuable resource for new and developing companies. From advising on basic topics like business planning to helping find a location and identifying financing, these services are integral to helping early-stage businesses succeed.

Business retention and expansion

Because existing businesses are crucial to local economies, EDOs offer services to help them problem-solve, succeed and expand. This might be as simple as offering advice or technical assistance. Or it might entail helping a company access funds to enable renovations, equipment upgrades or infrastructure improvements.

Assistance with workforce development

Finding skilled workers is one of the primary challenges for businesses today. That’s why economic developers work closely with economic development colleagues to help build and maintain a strong local workforce. EDOs commonly help companies with recruitment as well as the development of specialized training for in-demand jobs.

Providing funds for businesses

Economic developers are knowledgeable about business financing and sourcing. They can help new and existing businesses identify the capital and incentives they need to start-up and grow. Many EDOs even offer revolving loan funds or other incentives to encourage local investment. A complete resource of local and state incentives is available at the GOPIP website. 

Marketing and promotion

Economic developers are at the forefront of marketing their cities and regions to attract prospective investors and residents. They are experts at knowing a community’s assets and business advantages in order to promote them in a global marketplace. Ottumwa has identified four specific target industries in which to look for new business that are compatible with existing employers, and therefore have compatible skill sets: Food & Beverage Processing, Machinery Manufacturing, Automotive Supply Chain, and Transportation & Logistics. Helgerson Flats is a nationally-recognized, certified shovel-ready site with more than 75 acres open for business complete with infrastructure.  

Learn more about Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress, and how we’re working to strengthen the area economy @