Your local Economic Development Organization – another member of your super team

Local economic development organizations can provide you with an extra team, without any of the human resources worry.

Economic development, by definition, is typically measured in terms of jobs and income. However, economic development is multi-dimensional, and its success is determined by the combination of community and business development activities that affect and improve the community as a whole. It’s a team approach as many agencies and organizations must work together to bring the expertise and resources together to accomplish the job.

An important player is the local economic development organization (EDO). This organization has expertise and contacts to help the process. An example in northern Michigan is Michigan State University Extension partner, the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA). Established in 1984, this EDO nurtures partnerships and collaborations with a variety of both public and private organizations, and provides assistance through various economic development tools.

Economic development organizations are also experienced in preparing grant applications and administering them over the project period. There are several state and federal grant programs to assist communities and businesses with economic development and each is designed to meet specific objectives.

Your local team of Economic Development Specialists can assist communities in finding the most effective approach to meet their needs. 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.

Oftentimes, many are overwhelmed by the many options available. A great first step is to contact your local economic development organization. They can save time and money as they help you take the right path depending on your needs and desired outcomes.

MSU Extension has had a unique partner-relationship with the regional economic development organization the 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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