WASHBURN COUNTY -- As 2018 is just around the corner, it's time for the Washburn County Economic Development Corporation to begin our membership drive. WCEDC is a 501(c)(3) organization and our mission is to "Expand the tax base, create jobs, and retain existing jobs in Washburn County."
2017 was a busy year for Economic Development in Washburn County and 2018 is beginning to look like it will be busy as well. I want to list a few of the accomplishments from the past year for you.
- We have worked tirelessly to increase broadband speeds and availability for the entire county. Reliable, fast, and affordable broadband is key to attaining all of our future economic development goals. Broadband is not an amenity anymore, it's a utility.
- We continue to help new and existing businesses expand with financing through the IDA's revolving loan funds. In the past year, The WCIDA has been able to offer low interest loans to help new and existing businesses in Washburn County in total of almost $600,000. This is a significant increase from loaning $0 the previous year. This is a good sign that things are happening! This has also led to an addition of at least 30 new jobs to the area.
- We held the first annual WCEDC Awards banquet where we were able to recognize businesses from around the County for their excellence. This is the only event in the area that brought business leaders from the entire County together for celebration of what they do.
- We increased the amount of workshops and seminars for business leaders to help with anything from social media marketing to tactical business planning. We will continue to grow these programs as the year goes on.
- The WCEDC took over the demographic research of the county which is important for understanding where we're at, and where we're headed in terms of economic and community development.
In the coming year, we hope to make even larger strides to make Washburn County's future bright and successful. The work to increase broadband internet in Washburn County will be a long one, but is vital to our present and future economic needs. It takes support from the communities and the businesses in our area to make this a reality.
I am writing you today to ask for your support in the coming year. Your contributions to this organization help make everything we do possible. Everything we do, is with growth and a prosperous future for generations to come in mind. Please consider being a part of this extraordinary movement within Washburn County, today!
If you're a visual person, please feel free to watch the annual report video I put together that helps name some of the things we've accomplished in the past year.
Finally, the holidays are upon us, so make sure to be safe and know that the WCEDC wishes you the warmest of seasons. In the meantime, I look forward to updating you on more happenings in January, 2018!
Joel Zimmerman, Executive Director, WCEDC.