Recognizing Small Businesses & Economic Developers
Wednesday, May 01, 2019
The first full week of May is both National Small Business Week and International Economic Development Week (EDW). It’s a time to reflect on the contributions of economic developers and small business owners and recognize their successes. Their hard work goes a long way towards strengthening South Dakota’s economy.
International Economic Development Week
The International Economic Development Council 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.
During EDW, we recognize economic developers, the local leaders and organizations that work tirelessly to recruit investors, develop businesses, create jobs, enhance the tax base and improve the quality of life of their communities.
Members of the South Dakota Prairie Gateway are EDOs. They provide a comprehensive range of critical services geared towards building local economies and supporting area businesses.
Here are some of the primary ways they better our communities:
Support for entrepreneurs and small businesses
EDOs are a valuable resource for new and developing companies. From advising on basic topics like business planning to helping find a location and identify 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 local partners 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. 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.
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 identifying a community’s assets and business advantages in order to promote them to the world.
National Small Business Week
Small businesses don’t just employ local residents, they give our communities character and help make them vibrant. During Small Business Week and beyond, we have a chance to celebrate their success and offer our appreciation.
Small businesses make communities an enjoyable place to visit and live
When people visit towns in South Dakota, they are likely to enjoy our specialty shops, family-owned restaurants and local art galleries. They appreciate the personalized customer service. We have local business owners to thank for that.
Show your appreciation by visiting small businesses
You can show your appreciation for the local business owners who contribute to the vitality and success of our communities all year round with mindful purchases. Consider spending your dollars at family owned cafés and restaurants or shopping at a local boutique for that special gift for a friend or family member rather than purchasing it online.
These small daily decisions can make a significant impact on the amount of revenue that mom and pop businesses generate in a given year. Making active choices to keep money within our communities helps support the local businesses that create jobs for our neighbors.
We offer support for local businesses
South Dakota Prairie Gateway members offer support for local businesses. This includes access to information and resources, training assistance through the SBDC, grants and incentives.
Anyone who is interested in starting a business should contact their local economic development organization (EDO) for information, support and assistance. If an entrepreneur requires something that our members can’t provide, we will make the introduction to other support services to ensure they can receive what they require.
Thank you to all our small business owners
We want to send a huge thank you to the small businesses that make our communities such special places to live and work. Your contributions are invaluable. For more information on National Small Business Week, click here. The Small Business Administration is offering a free virtual conference where small business owners can network and access expert advice.