By Deanna Derway
As 2013 ended, economic developers, consumers and business owners alike were looking ahead to 2014 and wondering what to expect from an economy that has been slowly emerging from the recession.
Fortunately, the New Year brings with it new opportunity and trends are looking positive for the economic climate in our region. Increased commerce among end users continues to promote county-based interests such as natural and healthy foods, manufacturing (including “agri-production”), alternatives to mass-produced goods and the purchase of local products.
All are encouraging trends for Washington County and the economy in New York state. With growing consumer demand, many businesses are enjoying their positions in the market and are also benefiting from growth trends across their industries.
Small businesses are the engines driving job growth in our economy and the Washington County Local Development Corporation (WCLDC) is here to ensure that small businesses have all the resources necessary to start up, grow and create jobs in 2014.
The primary service offered by the Washington County Local Development Corporation (WCLDC) is lending. Financing entrepreneurs, supporting company expansions, equipment purchases and real estate investments are just a few of the services available. Another priority is partnerships. The WCLDC frequently works with financial institutions to assist businesses, as well as offer community development investment programs for developers.
The WCLDC consistently collaborates and engages with strategic regional economic development agencies and statewide organizations to ensure resources, programs and funding streams to best serve existing businesses and start-ups are available. Whether its equipment for upgrading existing machinery, adding production lines, buying or building a facility, working capital or job creation; the WCLDC has programs with funding options to encourage growth across all sectors throughout the county.
The 2014 mission of our organization is to attract, retain and expand business in our county while balancing the “quality of life” Washington County provides for residents and constituents alike.
Last year, our organization’s effect was felt throughout the county as we met with over 300 businesses and handled numerous relocation inquiries as we strive to strengthen the business climate within the county. Serving the needs of private sector employers remains a top priority of the WCLDC. Our organization is well suited to support the needs of companies doing business here, whether their goal is to remain successful, expand current capabilities or maximize additional opportunities.
One prevalent trend noticed by the WCLDC since the recovery began was the up-tick in the number of micro loan funds for spending on equipment and software for small businesses.
As expected during the recession, interest in expansion and new investments was marginal and businesses were making do with what they had. Fortunately, changes influencing the national economy are having a positive effect in our region and businesses will begin looking at making new investment decisions this year.
The good news is that things are happening in Washington County. New businesses and expansions of current companies are appearing regularly and the WCLDC is committed to helping these employers receive the services they need to be successful.
Derway is president of the Washington County Local Development Corp.