2024 Economic Development Organization Awards

By BF Editors
From the May / June 2024 Issue


Business Facilities 2024 Economic Development Organization (EDO) Awards recognize economic developers’ efforts toward growing their communities. Record-breaking projects and creating new pockets of economic growth are the goals that communities are aiming to secure. These 2024 EDO Awards winners characterize tenacity from the grassroots level to securing multimillion-dollar projects.

Business Facilities editors evaluated the entries submitted through an online portal and selected 24 winners in categories by State, Utility, Large, Mid-Sized, and Small EDO.

2024 Business Facilities Economic Development Organization Awards, 2024 EDO Awards2024 Business Facilities Economic Development Organization Awards, 2024 EDO Awards


2024 Economic Development Organization Awards2024 Economic Development Organization Awards

Arkansas Economic Development Commission

In 2023, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) certified 50 businesses through the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Certification Program. This brought the total number MWBE certifications to 335. (In 2022, 34 businesses were certified.) MWBE-certified businesses receive access to support services, including workshops, B2B networking, and notification of bid opportunities, as well as opportunities to do business with local, state, and federal governments; higher education; lending institutions; and private sector. An event contributing to growth is the annual Minority and Women-Owned Business Matchmaking Event, a one-day meeting in May in Little Rock. Hosted by AEDC’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWOBE) Division, the event “matches” these businesses with private and public sector buyers for contract opportunities. In 2023, there were 200 attendees. The MWOBE Division partnered with U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, Arkansas Capital Corp., Arkansas APEX Accelerators, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Little Rock Regional Chamber, Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority, NIGP Arkansas Chapter, and Nelson Intelligence Solutions.

Arizona Commerce AuthorityArizona Commerce Authority

Arizona Commerce Authority

In June 2023, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs launched the Future48 Workforce Accelerators, partnerships among industry, government, and community colleges to scale manufacturing talent quickly. The program is modeled after Drive48, a nationally-recognized automotive assembly training center in Coolidge. In 2023, Arizona approved $30 million to build six manufacturing training facilities: Future48 Workforce Accelerators. Gov. Hobbs has announced four Future48 sites in Kingman, Yuma, Maricopa County, and Pinal County. The Kingman Accelerator will support manufacturing, transportation, and mining industries. The Yuma Accelerator will offer training in electrical technology, advanced manufacturing, broadband fiber optics, and solar installation in support of aerospace and defense. The Maricopa County Accelerator will support the semiconductor industry. Training there will take place in collaboration with industry partners, including TSMC and Intel. The most recent is the Pinal County Accelerator in partnership with Central Arizona College, LG Energy Solution, the Arizona Commerce Authority, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., Design Systems Inc. (DSI), and Architekton Architects. The focus is the growing battery manufacturing industry.

2024 Economic Development Organization Awards2024 Economic Development Organization Awards

Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade

In 2021, the Colorado state legislature formed a task force to address the housing shortage. The result: the Innovative Housing Incentive Program (IHIP), utilizing existing grants and low-interest loans to make Colorado a hub for housing manufacturing. The proposal gained momentum between the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) and state legislature. The bill was signed into law in May 2022. It included $40 million from the state’s general fund to support companies that build modular, 3D-printed, panelized, kit, and tiny homes. IHIP includes two funding mechanisms: a performance-based grant reimburses operating expenses and gives cash awards for units built and installed, and a factory loan program offers low-interest financing to build off-site construction facilities. OEDIT has incentivized creation of nearly 300 housing units, with another 1000+ expected over two years. The state also dedicated a portion of funds to accelerate the building code review process. The program has been recognized by the Bipartisan Policy Center as an innovative, business-based program.

Indiana Economic Development Corporation

In 2023, Michigan City, Seymour, and Warsaw (IN) introduced strategic economic development plans in partnership with local residents and funded by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC). The funding source is the expanded Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI). These plans were developed during year-long “learning labs” that enabled officials and residents to work with national community development officials from the Brookings Institution and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) for place-based strategies. The Vibrant Michigan City playbook serves as a roadmap and includes quality of life, such as banking, grocery stores, and public parks; retaining talent; and employment diversity. In Seymour, the Burkart Opportunity Zone agenda is focused on career pathways, small businesses, engaging immigrants, housing options, and recreation. In Warsaw, Critical Corridor Connections is designed to grow strategic sectors and address economic stagnation and inequity by coordinating workforce, small business, real estate development, and placemaking efforts.

2024 Economic Development Organization Awards2024 Economic Development Organization Awards

Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

In 2023, North Carolina welcomed 111 business recruitment, development, and expansion projects, for 10,855 new jobs and more than $4.89 billion in capital investment. This was made possible by the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) and its partners at the North Carolina Department of Commerce and other state and local organizations. The EDPNC’s Business Recruitment team saw 54 new projects, totaling $3.09 billion and expected to bring in 6,888 new jobs; the team had one of its best years on record, and was the largest single source of projects for the EDPNC. The EDPNC’s existing industry expansion managers, who facilitate the growth and expansion of already established companies, supported 57 projects expected to create 3,967 new jobs and generate more than $1.79 billion in investment. The EDPNC’s International Trade division assisted 577 companies, where 174 were minority and women-owned businesses, and 305 were in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. The EDPNC’s Small Business Advisors assisted nearly 4,800 minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses.


Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

To earn designation at a federal Regional Tech Hub in October 2023, Wisconsin formed a consortium of 15 institutions, including Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the University of Wisconsin System Administration, UW-Madison, GE HealthCare, BioForward Wisconsin, and Milwaukee Area Technical College. The designation came with a $350,000 EDA grant allowing WEDC and partners to move forward with plans for the hub. Within weeks of receiving the designation, Wisconsin started seeing an impact. In November, Microsoft announced plans to invest billions to expand its data center footprint in Mount Pleasant. WEDC is moving forward to support the hub and the companies working toward innovations in biohealth. For the first time, WEDC is offering organizations that work with biotech and personalized medicine companies an Entrepreneurship Partner Grant (EPG), funding to offer entrepreneurs and startups services such as training and technical assistance. WEDC has pledged $500,000 to be awarded for those working with the bio-tech industry. Grants will likely range from $10,000 to $200,000.

Click here to read Utility EDO Awards.

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